We all have to make big decisions in this business and it’s yet another one I’ve had to make, though a lot earlier than I’d have wished.
I have my reasons for it but can’t really go too deep into that due to confidentiality, both on our part as a club and Paul’s. I don’t really want to go into too much detail, but ideas change. Eight months down the line you’re on a path and you begin to realise that you’re quite wide apart in your thoughts about the club going forward. We’ve always had an idea of where we need to be, and we planned to do this year in a certain way, and that was where we were going but we just haven’t managed to do it.
I know the fans will say you’ve sacked these managers but if you don’t try and work with certain people then you’ll never know how good they are. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and if it doesn’t work you’ve got to make a decision. The most important thing is we make those and move on. These aren’t made on the spur of the moment; they’re considered decisions that I’ve taken time over before they’re made. I have to stand by those. I’m staying here at the club and working very hard to make it work. We hope the fans will stick with us and work with us. Most of the fans know me and I’m always there to chat to anybody. I appreciate it’s frustrating but we have to get it right. The club has to go down the right direction and the change of manager was important to do that.
We’re now going to carry on doing what the club needs to do this season after the relegation last year, and hopefully by the end of the season have things sorted and ready so that we can start next season in a real positive manner.
The Under-23s project started right at the back end of last season, before Paul came in, and the club had made a decision that this was the right way to go, and provide a stepping stone to the Under-18s, because we’ve had some very good teams at that level, and it gives them the chance to develop and move forward. The club has to develop more young players and can’t just keep buying them. It’s a model we’re working very hard on.
We have the targets with our scouting network and recruitment, and analysts. We have everything in place and know who we’re going for. That’s always been the plan and we’ll continue to pick up good players as we go along, working with Premier League and Championship clubs to enable us to give their players experience, and also to get some value into our squad.
This week has been very difficult and today even more so because it’s the final day of the transfer window. The lads we’ve signed have been on our radar, so it’s not a kneejerk reaction as we’ve been looking at them. We wanted a bit of extra support in the middle and Ben’s a very talented left footed player who’s played for Middlesbrough’s first team in the FA Cup too. We’re excited about what he can do.
We’ve also bought Devarn in from Southport, and he is a lad who has a lot of potential. We’ve looked at him and followed his progress. He’s very quick, direct and the sort of player we need to go and find. Hopefully he can enjoy his time at the club.
Novs has left the building today and we wish him all the best. A great opportunity came for him at the last minute to go to Bradford, and we couldn’t stand in his way at all. He’s got a good deal there and we wish him all the best. He’s done well while he’s been at the club and his efforts have been absolutely fantastic.
We’re taking a big squad down to Crawley this Saturday, which will include our new signings and hopefully the fans will get to look at a couple of different players in the game. It’s a very difficult match and a tough place to go to anyway, but after the week we’ve had all I want to do is see the players play the best they can. All we expect is a great effort from them. With a bit of luck and hard work, hopefully Russ can get them playing together as a unit, we can score a few goals and try to win the match. Russ is looking after the team for the weekend and then we’ll have a sit down on Monday. There’s no pressure on Russ, he will go in and do that job with Kev, Turny and Mussy supporting him on the day.
All I ask is the fans give us a bit of time and not think of this as a game that we must win. It’s not, it’s one where we start to introduce our young players for the rest of the season. We have a great opportunity this year, we’re going to win matches but also introduce new players into the side and give them the chance to see if they’re good enough to play league football, and that’s what we always wanted to do this season. We still have a very good squad, and will still entertain.
I’m pleased to announce that I will put an update every week in our home match programme, to keep all the fans informed on a regular basis between now and the end of the season. I’ll always try to be open and honest. If anyone wants to send in any questions to answer, or arrange to have a sensible conversation with me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Up the Iron.