Manager Keith Curle on tough decisions and realisation
Manager Keith Curle spoke candidly this week about the battle ahead as the preparations for the important festive period continue.
“You have to keep your lines of communication open and that is what training this week has been about,” he said. “Part of my communication is also to the owner, the chairman and to the key stakeholders of the football club.
“I’ve got a responsibility to the supporters of this football club to let them know we’re doing everything we can to halt the slide we’ve been on. I don’t think enough people know or understand the fight we’re in.
“We’re in a relegation fight which could potentially see us go out of the Football League. That is where we are at right now. We need the backing of the supporters and the realisation from them that they can help us massively.
“Things won’t always go our way from now until the end of the season, I can guarantee you that. I know our supporters don’t want this club to be playing non-league football and I also know they can help us to avoid it.”
“This is a fantastic football club,” he commented. “Unfortunately some horrible and tough decisions are going to have to be made. Some stern talking and realisation is going to have to be done. There’s going to have to be some honesty in it all, but that’s my job.
“I’m going to have to be the bad guy, the bearer of bad news and also the motivator. I want to get the best out of people and sometimes I’m going to have to tell people they are no longer required.
“That isn’t nice but I owe it to them to tell them so they have the opportunity to either get on board or get off the bus and go and find somewhere else. I don’t look forward to that part of the job, because it isn’t nice. But I do enjoy being honest with people and I’m prepared to do that, even if it upsets them. That’s what I’m being paid to do.”
“We’ve had team meetings every day this week and in every one of them we’ve used the league table as a back drop,” he explained. “Beside that we’ve asked the question – why are we third from bottom?
“Every time someone has used an excuse, or a reason, we take it right back to looking at the league table. We can use any stat we want in as positive a way as we want – the fact is we are where we are. That league table doesn’t tell lies. The individual and collective mistakes being made on the pitch is one of the main reasons why we are third from bottom.
“Things have to change and people need to understand exactly where we are. What’s needed after that is that everyone does their bit. For the players that means the days of training for an hour and a half and going home have gone.
“We’re at the bottom end of the table and if we continue to do things in the same way, nothing changes. The timings of what we do and when we work are changing, but none of it is mindless. We need to find out what’s needed to get up this division and it needs to happen quickly.”
“The players have been very responsive because we told them that the time we spend together now on meetings, training or gym work is in no way a punishment,” he told us. “It’s all about education and development and getting away from the wrong end of the league. None of us want to work in non league football.
“The talking in our sessions has all come from the players. They’ve been given a platform to express themselves verbally in front of everyone, and we’ve broken it down into smaller groups as well.
“If you stay as one group you tend to get the same people talking all the time. We’ve mixed it up a bit so different points of view have been heard. It’s fantastic to sit back and listen and I can honestly say it is a great group of players.
“There is naivety in there but you get that with a young group. An acceptance of that has to come from me because they’re learning and they’re starting to communicate more and motivate each other. We want to be at a place where if someone needs a rollocking, no matter who it is, even the younger players are prepared to give it to him. We’re all after the greater good because we want this football club to be successful.”
“For a number of reasons and factors it’s a quiet changing room,” he concluded. “It’s a quiet squad and football club, and I know we haven’t got much to shout about at the moment, but we need to show our intentions on the football pitch physically and verbally.
“There has to be a level of responsibility and we’re trying to make everyone responsible for their own professionalism, their conduct and their performance. We’re getting there and I’m sure the results and performances will follow.”
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