Steve Hitchen has played an influential role in all of the English clubs he has been involved in undertaking various roles and unearthing potential world-beaters.
Hitchin’s career in football really took off after he stopped playing professionally. Despite spells with Blackburn Rovers, Macclesfield Town and Bangor City, Hitchin truly excelled at Tottenham Hotspur in 2005, this being after his playing career and instead, as a scout working in France.
Hitchen gained prestige during his time at Spurs due to the players he extensively scouted in France which were then brought to the club such as youngsters Younes Kaboul, Adel Taarabt and Benoit Assou-Ekotto alongside the slightly older Didier Zokora.
Spurs’ sporting director at the time, Damien Comolli, was so impressed with Hitchen’s work at Spurs, he handed him a more international role, rather than just being based in France. It was in this role Hitchin excelled as he brought in Spurs’ most notable coup from abroad in the last decade: Luka Modric. A deal that Hitchen would have pushed to complete following his scouting.
After a brief stint at Saint-Etienne, Comolli then joined Liverpool as Director of Football in 2010 and brought Hitchin with him, he was that influential during his time in North London. Harry Redknapp, Spurs boss at the time, lauded Hitchen’s praises as he left: “He was very, very good and we liked him a lot. He would have been our main scout abroad”.
In Merseyside, Hitchin was able to continue the scouting of Luis Suarez, who he had kept close tabs on whilst at Spurs as early as four years prior to that. Comolli exclusively revealed in an interview with The Independent, that Hitchin knew before any other side that Suarez was to be sold by Ajax. This handed Liverpool the stonewall opportunity to sign the Uruguayan.
Suarez was by far the most notable foreign acquisition that Hitchin played a decisive role in. A year and a half into his tenure at Liverpool, Hitchin left Liverpool at the same time Comolli did. Hitchin has since had stints at Queens Park Rangers as head of European scouting and Derby as Director of Player Recruitment.
Hitchin has now been back at Spurs for over a year now as chief scout and despite limited transfer dealings in the summer, expect to see some obscure signings come to the new White Hart Lane in the near future as Hitchin may just have another hidden gem up his sleeve.