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INTERVIEW: Share the vision

21 September 2013

Graham Kavanagh on a different perspective

Caretaker manager Graham Kavanagh spoke more about the transition from assistant manager to the man in the hot seat following the departure of Greg Abbott at the beginning of last week.

“I think you do look at things differently as a manager,” he said. “When I used to talk with Greg he would tell me that some players needed to be dealt with differently, depending on different situations. 

“An example would be that, as a coach, if a player isn’t doing something the way you think he should be then it’s black and white. You can pull him to one side and tell him what you think is wrong. 

“As a manager you maybe have to be a bit more subtle about it ... and that hasn’t really been in my nature. That’s something I’ll find a bit difficult early on because ultimately you want the best for the group and for the individual. I’m going to ask them to share the vision and that means they have to give nothing less than 110% with honesty, hard work, commitment and intelligence.” 

“I suppose I have learned something about myself through this last ten days,” he admitted. “I’ve learned there’s no real point in looking beyond today. Things change so quickly in this game and I’m dealing with things I’ve never had to deal with before. 

“I’ve already had two players come and ask me about their futures and that side of things is completely new for me. All you can do is meet it head on and you’ve got to be honest. 

“You’ve got to stand firm with what you believe and I’ve proved to myself that these are all aspects of me as a person that I am able to cope with. I will stand up for who and what I believe in, and I’ll be loyal to those beliefs.” 

“I think what we’ve created as a staff has brought a new energy and a new vibe,” he explained. “That has come along for whatever reason and we’re trying to harness it and move it along in the direction we all want.  

“If this does go in my favour then I would love to do the job with this set of staff. I couldn’t have had any more support from everyone at the club. John [Nixon] called us the ‘United Three’ the other day and I thought that was a nice way of putting things. 

“We are very much united and together and there have been some great ideas thrown into the mix. I think we’re all building a positive energy that we hope the fans will buy into. At one stage last weekend I turned round to the fans and shouted – please stay with us – and they did that for us. 

“They got right behind us and it was beautiful to feel part of it. It’s something which will be a slow process but we’re going to do it as well as we can and hopefully we’ll get this club moving in the right direction.”

“Getting the job permanently would be huge for me,” he said. “I’ve had goals all through my career and I do want to be a manager. I’m eternally grateful to Greg for the opportunity he gave me and, from my own point of view, I now want the opportunity to be successful and to get this club up the table. 

“It’s a great club with great people and it has very good fans. We ask them to support us week after week and they’ve done that through some very difficult times.” 

“You know the players are seeing you in a different light,” he confirmed. “I’ve had this conversation with Danny Livesey because we tried to create an environment last week where it was really intense through the early part, but we tailed things off and toned it down for Thursday and Friday. 

“We had lunch together on Friday and we had a bit of a sing-song because we wanted a really happy mood so that the lads could go away feeling free for the afternoon. However, I’d already named the team by that stage. 

“Danny was facing me during the lunch period and he obviously wasn’t playing. He was giving me daggers the whole afternoon. I’ve never experienced that before because I’ve never been the one picking the team. 

“In the past I’ve been able to go and put my arm around any players who were disappointed so that’s another big change for me. I’m comfortable with that, though, because I would expect any player who isn’t picked to be disappointed. It’s about dealing with it, getting behind the group and working hard to be involved again. 

“That’s what team spirit is. To a man they have got behind that and done it for us.” 

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