Graham Kavanagh on turning things round
Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us today about his plans for the coming weeks as the current campaign draws to a close.
“We started looking at how we’re going to address the squad for next season as early as Christmas,” he said. “We haven’t told the players yet, that will happen next week, because I wanted to see where we were in relation to safety in this league. As I say, that’s now out of our hands so we’ll address it all next week.”
“Looking ahead, we have to improve in every department next season,” he continued. “I have to improve as a manager, the staff have to improve and the players have to improve. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to have a successful season and we have to build a squad that’s capable of giving us that.
“If we do go down I’ve seen enough League One and League Two football to know what it’s all about. We’ll get less time on the ball, it will be more frantic and we’ll probably see more rash decisions from players. There is a more physical approach to the game and the pitches aren’t as good through the second half of the season. The journeys are longer, from where we are situated, so there are a number of factors we would have to work with. Ultimately, all of that is irrelevant because we have to deal with it, whatever division we’re in, and we have to do things better across the board. I’m hoping we will hit the ground running from day one and, if we do, that will get us off on the right track.”
Looking back at how this season has gone, he said: “When I first came into the job I had a budget that was already spent. I didn’t have any money to play with other than what I could generate for myself. I had £600 a week in wages to play with and, after that, I had to use contacts and relationships to try to help to get players in. There were a number of reasons for that and that’s why we’ve had as many loans as we have.
“The group was smaller than what we should have had at the start of the season, but that’s not a criticism of the previous regime. That’s just the nature of the way things were with the cuts and with the attendances being low. I have a fair idea of what I’ll be working with in numbers next season and we have a structure in place which will hopefully allow us to have more depth in the squad.
“A lot will be determined by what we do in the market and by how quickly we can manage to do it. I’m going to try to be more patient with that side of things so that we can get the best available to us at the time.
“When I have my squad, and the players who I think will move us forward, I would then like to be judged. Obviously I will be judged on what’s happened this season because I didn’t want to be the manager who took us down. That’s a huge disappointment on my part, if that is what happens. If that's on my CV then it’s something I want to put right next season.”
“We can only do so much planning for next season before things have to start happening,” he continued. “We've got a list of names we'll look at, but I've got a situation with the current squad I need to look at first. That will happen next week and, once I've had feedback from the players who have been offered deals, we’ll then have a clear idea of the areas we'll need to strengthen. I've already got an idea in my head, I've discussed it with John [Nixon] and the staff, and we’re calm about it. However, it is important that we get the right people in.”
“There are a number of factors we have to consider when we're bringing people in,” he explained. “Whoever you decide you're going to pay a certain amount to then reflects on how many others you can bring in, and what sort of quality they will be.
“We're going to have a meeting about the structure of the club in the coming weeks. There are a lot of things I want to implement in terms of scouting and sports science, there are a number of areas we need to address, and we will be doing that if the financial constraints allow us to. We've got a lot of people doing a lot of jobs throughout the club, they're all giving their all but I think it would be good if we could structure things better.”
“I'm getting all of the right vibes from the powers that be and I think they understand how difficult it has been,” he said. “After the first six games we had two points, and we had two wins and a draw in the four after that. I think everybody believed, and I certainly believed, that I was the man to turn it round.
“We were implementing different ideas and we changed things, which was going great until February, where we had a run of games where we picked up a lot of injuries. We haven't recovered from that which has been disappointing. The confidence was drained and the momentum disappeared.
“Once the Tranmere and Shrewsbury games went by without us getting a win, but performing well, we knew we'd be in trouble. There are reasons for it all but going forward I want to be the man to turn it round. I feel I have a duty to do that.”
United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Graham Kavanagh now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.
to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.