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MANAGER: A very real challenge

19 September 2014

Keith Curle on being manager of Carlisle United

We caught up with new United boss Keith Curle at the Derby County training ground shortly after his appointment had been confirmed on Friday afternoon.

"This is a very real challenge," he said. "I started at the bottom in my playing career and worked my way up to the top through a lot of hard work and dedication. We need to do the exact same job here because it's obvious where we are in the league.

"It's been made clear to me through some very honest meetings with the board what is required and I think I can bring that to the table. I'm professional, disciplined and organised and I've got a good eye for emerging talent. I know how the game needs to be played to win points, which is obviously vitally important."

"Over my managerial career I've seen the best and worst of Carlisle United," he told us. "I came to Brunton Park with Notts County not long ago and we gave Carlisle a footballing lesson, to be quite frank. We won 4-0 and put in a very good performance. 

"On the other hand, I saw the best of Carlisle when I was manager of Chester City. We lost 5-1 when we visited Brunton Park for that one. It was Carlisle who gave us the lesson that day and I always remember the atmosphere inside the stadium. The crowd were fantastic, they really got behind the team, and those are the type of days I want to try and bring back to this football club." 

"After speaking to the owners and the chairman I knew this was a good club," he told us. "I've actually just met Paul Simpson, because we're training at Derby's training ground, and the first thing he said to me was what a great club this is. The foundations are in place, it needs tinkering with, and it needs me to do what I do best and get the best out of players. I need to maximise their potential and get results. I'm confident I can do that.

"I watched the game at Shrewsbury on Tuesday and there is always room for improvement, especially when you're bottom of the league. I've just spoken to the players and I've told them they all have a clean slate and a fresh start - apart from Billy Paynter who I tried to sign at Notts County. He turned me down to go to Doncaster! I know the qualities he's got and I'm looking forward to getting the chance to work with him and the rest of the lads."

On getting back into management, he said: "I spoke to Neil Warnock when he went back to Crystal Palace, and there was an opportunity there for me, but I told him I wanted to be my own man again. To do that I had to back myself because I knew I had something to offer. 

"Results wise and stats wise at Notts County I probably stack up as well as anybody who is out of work at the moment, and a lot better than some people who are still in work. I know there are things I need to improve that didn't work out for me at Notts County. They aren't all football based, a lot of it was down to relationships off the field, so I'll work on that.

"I was desperate to get back involved and I know the foundations at the football club, I know how the club wants to play the game and I just want to get started. I actually can't wait to meet the groundsman when I go into work on Monday because every time I've been to Brunton Park the playing surface has been unbelievable. I've spoken to the chairman about that and he said it hasn't changed, so I need to know what he does because it's phenomenal."

"I'm looking forward to seeing the crowd," he said. "I saw them turn on Greg Abbott because of how we played on the day we won 4-0, so I know that if I can get them on my side, and really behind us as a team, we can turn it into a real fortress and get results.

"I've heard from the chairman about some of the players who aren't playing at the moment. There is enough in the dressing room, in my opinion, but there is also room for improvement for me to be able to do some deals. 

"I've said to the chairman I won't fill the changing room with loan players. I want to have a look right through the football club, down to the youth team. Everybody will get an opportunity to show me what they can do and they'll get the chance to impress me enough for me to give them a chance to be on the pitch on a Saturday."

"I have set myself a target," he revealed. "I need the supporters to get on board with me. I know there will be some positive and some negative reactions but I know that if they give me the opportunity, and they come into it with an open mind, then they will enjoy watching their team. 

"There will be 100% commitment and dedication and the players will give everything for the shirt. Likewise everything we do as a backroom staff will be to get three points on a Saturday."

"There is a little bit of room for manoeuvre in terms of the acquisition of players, as long as it's in line with the budget we have in place," he said. "Every League Two club has financial restraints and we're no different. Having said that, some players might have to move on to further their career so we'll see how all of that goes. I need to get the strongest team possible on the pitch, week in week out, and I'm confident I can do that."

Speaking about his assistant, he said: "Colin West is somebody I've worked with before. He'll tell you he's the best coach outside of the Premier League! 

"We get on well, he's very honest and very opinionated, he's able to voice his opinion and he's a very good communicator, not only with myself but with the players. We have a strong relationship and I can give him my thoughts and he can go onto the training pitch and put on a session exactly as I would have done it. 

"It's very important to have somebody you trust but I've spoken to all of the existing staff and told them I'm not coming in and asking for them to lose their job. I've been out of work for 16 months or so and I know what it's like. 

"All I've asked from them is honesty and for them to give me everything they've got, not only on the field, but off the field as well. That's with anything they think I need to know about. I've got a huge amount of desire in me and I am determined to make this a success." 

Click HERE to see a three-part interview with Keith Curle on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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