West Ham to appoint a director of football as David Sullivan takes a step back from transfer dealings

Lead role | David Sullivan has been at the centre of the club’s transfer dealings: Alex Morton/Getty Images

West Ham will appoint an experienced director of football at the end of the season in a bid to head off criticism from fans of their recruitment strategy.

Frustration boiled over during the 3‑0 defeat by Burnley on Saturday when some fans invaded the London Stadium pitch and hundreds hurled abuse at the club’s owners.

West Ham’s transfer policy over the past two seasons has been one prominent source of dissatisfaction among the supporters and there will be changes this summer.

Co-owner David Sullivan, who has been directly involved in signings, including dealing with agents, will step away from that role, which will be handled by an experienced figure.

Sullivan, co-owner David Gold and vice-chairman Karren Brady have agreed on the new post but no appointment will be made until manager David Moyes’s future at the club is decided.

Moyes, who succeeded Slaven Bilic in November, has repeatedly stated no decision will be made on his future until West Ham’s Premier League destiny is decided, which may not be until the end of the season.

Sullivan is keen for Moyes to remain and is ready to offer a long-term deal if survival is confirmed.

Moyes is under contract until the end of the season and has said he is enjoying his time at West Ham but will want assurances from the club, particularly on spending for next season before making a decision.

“They have signed an awful lot of good players here, a lot of good players - Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic - so there’s no criticism, but we’re going to set up something that hopefully gives us another look,” said Moyes after the 2-0 win over Watford last month.

“It’s going to come a little bit away from the chairman. The chairman is going to try to stand aside a bit from it. It could be a head of football operations, could be a head of recruitment, could be a director of football.”

Many supporters who were promised that moving to the London Stadium in the summer of 2016 would take the club to “the next level” feel let down by what has been a perceived under-investment in the squad.

West Ham, meanwhile, look certain to have a sizeable police presence at their next home match, against Southampton on March 31, and are scheduled to have further talks with stadium operators LS185 about improving match-day stewarding.