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Ex-LOI footballer Harkin appointed Sporting Director of Standard Liege

Harkin is joining the Belgian club after a successful 14 years at Manchester City.

FORMER BOHEMIANS AND Finn Harps footballer Fergal Harkin has been appointed Sporting Director of Belgian club Standard Liege. Harkin joins after a successful 13-year stint at Manchester City, where he most recently worked as the club’s Football Partnerships and Pathways Manager. He initially joined the club’s scouting department from Nike in 2009. 

Harkin will oversee recruitment and the club’s academy.

“I am grateful to the City Football Group for giving me the opportunity to work with them for the past 13 years”, Harkin told the club’s website. “I am proud to have been part of the group and to have seen it grow during this time. I am now delighted to start my next adventure and I look forward to the challenge that Standard Liège has given me in order to achieve the objectives set by [owners] 777 Partners. I want to bring the club back to the level where it should be in the Belgian football and once again give supporters pride and enthusiasm.” 

Harkin was born in Donegal, and saw a putative playing career in England cut short when he was released by Leicester City. He returned to Ireland initially with Bohemians and then with Finn Harps, whom he played for in the 1999 FAI Cup final. He subsequently returned to Bohemians. 

fergal-harkin-celebrates-scoring Fergal Harkin playing for Bohemians in 2007. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

He competed a Masters in Business at UCD when he first returned to Ireland, and then put it into practice in taking a marketing job with Nike, with whom he stayed with for six years before joining City. 

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He becomes the second Irish Sporting Director in the Belgian top flight: Limerick-born Chris O’Loughlin holds the same role with high-flying Union Saint-Gilloise. 

Standard last won the Belgian title in 2009 and have underachieving in recent years, finishing 14th this season. 

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Gavin Cooney

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