The Bluebirds boss pens the first in what will be a regular column to keep supporters updated throughout the summer and into pre-season.
Hello, everyone and welcome to the first of my summer blogs here on the Official Website.
I am keen to keep you up to date with as much as I can from the Club so hopefully this can give you a bit more insight into how we’re working and what we’re trying to achieve.
Since I was appointed, I think the biggest priority has been to secure the players. I had a little holiday last week but now it’s all about meeting the current players, sitting down with them and talking through what we’re going to be looking for from them and what we can offer them. As well as that, we’re working to get some new players in the building to complement what we’ve already got.
Although I was on holiday, as you can imagine, the phone has not stopped ringing and between myself and Iain (Wood) we have been working on securing some targets, as well as building my backroom staff with bringing Adam Temple in, which was another priority.
We had a good discussion with the owners and the Sporting Director on Monday around the players we want, and we are down the line with a few of them. However, until the ink is dry on the pieces of paper you can’t really say anything. I would like to think we know who we want, and we’ve got targets in mind so as soon as anything is done, we’ll let you all know.
As you can appreciate, we’d like everyone in the building and be as close to complete as possible by the first day of pre-season. Other factors sometimes take over and dictate that may not happen, but I promise that we are working hard and we’re hopeful of getting a few over the line soon. You have to show patience to get the right players in – number one on our recruitment checklist is: Is he a good lad? And number two is: is he a good footballer? You have to get the right references and speak to the right people because if you get one bad apple in your dressing room it can destroy your season and that’s certainly something I won’t be doing.
I know a couple of the lads here already which is helpful. When I was working in the Academy at Oldham, I came across Connor Brown and Ollie Banks. I have also come up against a few of them over the years – John Rooney and Remeao Hutton spring to mind. I know a lot about the squad and over the last week or so I have got to know the players by watching some clips and what have you. I have a clear understanding of what we already have, and I know who I want to bring in based on our model and how I want to do things.
I have also been trying to support Iain and Ryan (Sutherland) in developing the new training base and all those little ‘one-percenters’ that can hopefully make the infrastructure of the Football Club better and help give us a start when we get back in for pre-season.
I think the Club has been looking for a home for a long time and I think players like a home and to have their own training ground so it is something else we can offer the players, which is key. I know it’s a bone of contention where it’s located but for us to be able to attract the kind of players we want to attract in the short-term, I think it’s a great decision and I think it’s a fantastic venue for a League Two football club.
The players will come back in for some testing on Thursday 23rd June. We’ve got an earlier start to the season, of course – this close season seems to get smaller and smaller every year, especially when you move clubs, but that’s football! The focus is now on making sure that come the first day of the season we’re ready to rock and roll.
As I say, I was really pleased to get things tied up to bring Adam in as my Assistant Manager this week. He’s someone I have known for 20 years; we’ve done a lot of coaching together in the past before going off on separate paths so to come back to working alongside each other again is fantastic. He’s a great bloke, an excellent coach who will make the players better on the training ground and I am confident that he and I can really complement each other as a management team.
We have a shared view of how we see football being played but trust is massive in any walk of life so to have someone like Adam by my side that I can bounce ideas off and we can check and challenge each other is ideal. I am excited by the appointment, and I am glad he’s chosen to come and join us at the Club.
There is a massive opportunity to do something exciting here. I said it the other week, but the work that lies ahead really enthuses me, so hopefully we can get the foundations in place as quickly as possible and that will give us the best possible chance come the first day of the season.
I am not one for social media really, but I hear that there’s been a pretty positive reaction to my appointment which is pleasing, and I would like to thank the fans for the welcome. When I was appointed to my last two jobs they said “who??” – haha! There might still be some of that now, but I am really pleased to be here and I’m going to give this Club everything I’ve got. I would love us to have a real bond and relationship over the season and across the country where we can share many highs and hopefully not too many lows.
I can promise fans that I will always be honest and open. There may be times when we’ll disagree but that’s the beauty of football I guess, and I will just always give you my honest opinion. That’s how I work, I am quite a straight-talking bloke.
I want to build a bond with the fans – on matchdays I will be hanging around the dugouts and will have some time before the game to answer any questions you might have. I want to have that open dialogue, as much as we can, and I know the Club is looking to organise a Question & Answer night on Friday 1st July in The Cross Bar so I will be looking forward to meeting a few of you then!
Thanks again for the warm welcome and I will be back with another update next week.