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INTERVIEW: Push forward together

18 May 2013

The manager on his new contract

Manager Greg Abbott spoke to us this morning to give us his reaction to his one-year contract extension.

“I’m obviously delighted that it is now all done and the focus now for me and my staff is on getting things ready for next season,” he said.

“We’ve been through a difficult year but we think we’ve faced a lot of the problems head on and it’s now time for us to look forward. We want to build a squad which will compete at the top end of the division and the work for that will continue as we go through the next seven or eight weeks.”

“I think the big thing in our favour, as a management team, is that we understand the level and the club,” he added. “We know the constraints and the difficulties we will face and we’ve worked hard to find ways round them. 

“There’s a full understanding about the way the club has to run and, now that we’re this far down the line, I find that there’s nothing left to surprise me about the job. I’ve seen how things can change quickly from everything feeling right to it all feeling wrong. Things can get hard at times and it’s important to remain true to what you believe through all of that.”

“We had some very poor results last season,” he continued. “That affected our crowd and the knock-on from that was to the financial side of things at the club. We had to deal with that and I think it was very important that we got through it and kept our place in what is a very tough division. 

“Fair play to the players because they got the results when we needed them and that put is in the position we are now where we can look at what happened and start the job of rebuilding so that we can see more of the success we all want. 

“It’s a difficult job but we are ready and prepared to take it on. We know exactly what is required within the budget we have and we know how we are going to go about achieving the results which will hopefully bring a huge lift to the club and to the city.”

“This is a job I really enjoy and I am passionate about driving this club forward,” he said. “I accept that last season wasn’t what any of us wanted and I take full responsibility for that.

“I accept the criticism, because the fans watch the game and they have their opinion, and I will always take anything constructive on board. It does sometimes get frustrating when it’s personal and that’s part of the job that I have to admit I really don’t enjoy. 

“However, what I really do enjoy is the challenge of trying to make this club better. You don’t always get the results and performances you want in this game, and you don’t always find yourselves heading in the direction you want to go, but what you do have to do is take the good, the bad and the difficult situations and make sure you come out of the other side as a strong unit.”

“I think our fans know that football at our level is going through a tough time, and we aren’t immune to that at Brunton Park,” he told us. “I’m the same as everyone else – I would love to stand in that dug-out every week and watch us win comfortably. But this is a tough, tough industry and you have to work for absolutely everything you get. 

“There will be difficult periods and the key, when that happens, is for us all to stick together as much as we can. We’ll fight hard on our side of it to make sure we get the players and the type of football which will give the fans plenty to smile about. 

“That side of things has been ongoing for a number of months now. We would have been doing that work whatever the contract situation was. There have been various meetings and phone calls to keep things ticking over and it’s almost like a game of chess. You’re always moving things around and thinking ahead to give yourself the best chance of coming out on top.”

“There is a real desire from me and my staff to give the fans the results and success they want,” he insisted. “Everybody is part of that in my opinion. It hurts me like you wouldn’t believe when we don’t play well because there is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve let your supporters down. 

“I remember telling the fans not to travel down to Brentford, when we found out that game was going to be televised, because I knew it was an expensive trip. That was me thinking about the fans and it backfired a bit, because our team performance was awful on the day. I was gutted that the fans who did make the game had been let down, and I knew it was the same for the TV audience. Things like that do affect you and we want to make sure they happen less and less as we push forward.”

“We do have a lot of work to do as we sit here right now, but we’re comfortable with the position we are in,” he said. “I’ve had to scrap for everything I’ve achieved in this game because I was never the type of player to make it at the top level. I had to prove myself almost every week to stay at the top end of the lower divisions and I’m focused on achieving as much as I can with Carlisle United now that I’m on the management side of it.”

“I know there are fans out there, because of the season we had, who will say that we would be better off by making a change,” he admitted. “I think if even the harshest critics were to look at the last five or six years they would see that we have worked hard and we have managed to deal with some very tough situations. 

“We can’t hide away from what was a mediocre season last year but it’s now time to learn from it and make sure we put it behind us. The key for me is that we push forward together. We can’t do it if we insist on pulling ourselves apart. The club just isn’t big enough to be able to deal with being torn to pieces because we need every fan we can get. 

“Within the football club, from top to bottom, we are putting a lot of hours in to trying to provide something we can be proud of. We need to hear the criticisms – of course we do – because we can’t expect to be clapped off the pitch if we’ve been beaten badly. But behind that it would be fantastic if we could show a united front because there are bound to be some tough times ahead. That’s the nature of the game. That’s when we need our supporters more than ever.”

“I am genuinely looking forward to getting on with next season,” he concluded. “This is a fantastic club with really good people in and around it, and it’s an honour to be able to work here. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I want success for this football club because the board, the staff and the people who work so hard behind the scenes deserve it. 

“Most of all, I want to do it for our fans. They have their grumbles, and rightly so, but they are always there and it’s difficult to explain how important that is. There would be nothing better than to give them some of what we saw down at Bournemouth. That would be the biggest reward for all of us.”

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