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INTERVIEW: We have a clear target

14 October 2013

Final part of the interview with our MD

In the final part of our interview with managing director John Nixon we first asked if any targets had been set following the appointment of a new manager two weeks ago.

“Graham has set his own targets,” he said. “To be perfectly honest with you, as part of this whole process we looked at what we’d achieved through the second half of last season - after the return of Lee Miller, who is a key player for us. 

“We’d got ourselves into a position following his return to action where we were at about a 63 or 64 point season, which was a mid-table position. We found when we analysed things again that we had to act fairly early because we were suddenly looking at the 20 games [from last season] plus six without a win [the start of this season] and it was now at a 49 point season. That is a disaster. Effectively it’s relegation.”

“As soon as we dipped into that relegation level of performance, over what was half a season, then we all knew that we had to move something,” he continued. “Realistically we have got to get to the play-offs. We have two clear goals – on one side we have to get to the play-offs, or automatic promotion, if we really do want to get to the next level. 

“If we don’t have that ambition or vision, or if we don’t want to get there, then we shouldn’t be running the club. We have got to get there. That’s Graham’s job and I’ll support him, and the club will support him, to get him all the players he wants to do that. 

“He’s got a different set of players and a different set of contacts. In some cases they are newer contacts, possibly younger in the game, and we’ll see if that helps. He’s got to work through that side of it himself.” 

“The next area is that we’ve got to give him the facilities to do that,” he insisted. “That isn’t his worry, that’s mine. We will continue with the Blue Yonder project – Graham is aware of that – because we’ve got to give him a stadium that is fit for the Championship.

“If we move up to that level, and this is a clear target we have, we will probably bring in an extra £4 million, which is double our turnover as a club. All of that £4 million needs to go on the playing side in order to stay there.

“Clubs that can’t put all of that money into the playing side simply don’t stay there. All of the new money you get has to go into the team or you haven’t got a chance.” 

“If you look at that £4m spread over 25 players it is something like an average of £3,500 per week - and I hope I have the numbers right on that. That is still low level wages in the Championship. You’re looking at strikers in the Championship who are on between £8,000 and £15,000 per week. In reality we are looking at average wages of about £5,000 or £6,000 per week just to get a reasonable player. 

“That’s why we need to make sure we give him the facilities he can operate with. We need to get the new stadium but none of the money to do that has to come out of the playing budget. It has to come completely from new revenue streams. 

“An enabling development is another way of saying that we are going to get it for nothing along with what we can turn out of Brunton Park. That’s the way it will go so that we can get the new stadium and make sure that the budget for the playing squad remains untouched.”

One of the other issues facing the club at the moment is the role of Academy manager as Davie Irons continues to assists Graham Kavanagh with first team affairs.

“The youth academy manager is still Davie Irons at this moment in time but we are now actively out and looking for somebody new to appoint to that post,” he confirmed. “That will take time because we have to identify the people we want to talk to, then we have to speak to them and provisionally offer them the job. 

“It looks like we will take people who have got experience and they will potentially then need to hand in their notice. That could take up to a month, so I don’t expect to see an academy manager to replace David Irons until December or, at the very latest, January. But, yes, it is a position we have to replace.”

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