Manager Keith Curle on moving on from a disappointing week
Manager Keith Curle spoke more about what is expected from the players as the focus switches to the first game of the New Year at Newport on Saturday.
“Everything I could do within the Football League sanctions for discipline has been done," he said. “Everything I did was done in front of all of the professionals at the club so that everybody was aware of the information I’d been given.
“Rather than me tell the players what the punishment was going to be I made them aware of what I could and couldn't do, and what I thought was fitting. The majority of the players agreed with the sanctions. Players have made mistakes and errors or judgement so we now need to move on.”
“There are things within it that are still disappointing me,” he said. “I know if somebody sneezes in Carlisle someone else will offer them a tissue, so I'm disappointed I didn't find out until I did.
“Finding out the local media and employees at the football club were aware of it, but I wasn't told until Tuesday morning, is disappointing and I think that's wrong. I maybe need to try and create a 'Player Watch' in Carlisle.
“If anybody sees one of our players parking illegally, not helping an old lady across the road or even dropping litter I want to know about it. It's unacceptable because this club does a lot of work in the community to spread the good name of the club, and that’s been tarnished.”
“We need to rebuild the relationship with the fans because they're upset, and rightly so,” he insisted. “Lots of people make sacrifices over the Christmas period but I don't think asking a professional footballer to be professional is a sacrifice.
“The media can talk about the sacrifices players make over Christmas but they're only being asked to be professional. Doctors and nurses who are on call are people who are making sacrifices. Being asked to prepare professionally and conduct yourself in a matter that is suitable for you to go out and perform to the best of your ability isn't a hardship, and it can't be seen as one.”
“I've had apology letters from the players and I think it's important that the message gets passed on,” he told us. “They are sincerely sorry for the errors they've made. The apology is not only to me, the coaching staff, the staff at the club and their fellow professionals, but most importantly it’s to the fans.
“They've identified they've let the supporters down. It was the second biggest home crowd of the season and we’d picked up two fantastic results against Northampton and Morecambe. We wanted to put on a spectacle because we knew it was the festive period. The last thing we wanted was me standing up after the game and giving excuses for why I thought the players were flat, only to then find out there was a different reason for that. That disappoints me.”
“Another thing I've got to touch on that disappointed me was other players knew that some of those lads were going out, and they didn't stop them,” he revealed. “That shows what a fragile changing room we've got. We're not strong as a unit yet because if somebody is stepping out of line they need to get brought back into line. If people are making bad decisions we can't just allow them to make those decisions. We need to bring them back into line ourselves and the changing room needs to be a collective unit. People have made mistakes but we now need to move on very quickly.
“One other thing to touch on, which probably shows the naivety of some of the players, is that one of the apology letters I received had the wrong spelling of my name. It wasn't done on purpose, it was a genuine mistake, but if you're giving somebody an apology letter have the decency to spell their name right.”
On matters of discipline at the club, he said: “Do I walk round banging people on the head – no. Am I a clock watcher and do I make sure the players are not even one minute late, and do I haul them over the carpet if they are – no. I don’t run a regime like that.
“What we try to do is make sure players are making correct decisions by themselves. What we tend to find is they are in well ahead of when they need to be because they know the preparation that’s needed. Gone are the days when people could get out the car, slip on their kit and then go training. There’s a lot needs to be done with Lee Fearn, in the gym, before we even start our sessions.
“On the whole we are creating a very professional environment. There’s been a mishap, but we now need to move on very quickly. People talk about naming and shaming, but these players have made mistakes. They’re human beings and that happens.
“I’d question anyone who was prepared to stand up and say they haven’t made a mistake in their life, or not made a decision they now regret. Everybody has and I’ll be the first person to hold my hand up and say I’ve made stupid errors of judgement. The important thing was that I moved on.”
“All I can ask for is forgiveness for the players and their mistakes,” he commented. “They’ve been punished and they’ve accepted their punishment as men. It is an inconvenience for them, not only because of the financial implications, which will hurt them, but I’ve also maximised the other punishments I can do – and that’s all I can do.
“The important thing now is the players will show their apology in their performances from now until the end of the season. That isn’t only their performances out on the pitch, but also in and around the local community.
“When players get asked to go out on appearances they will have a better understanding of their standing within the local community. This has caused an outcry because it isn’t acceptable for a professional footballer to not prepare himself for the paying public to come in and support him. It’s a total disregard for their profession.”
And on moving on from this, he said: “It’s a new year and a new start for everybody at the football club. My first job when I walk into the changing room today is to wish everybody a Happy New Year.
“There have been some disappointing things which have happened in 2014 for a lot of people, inside and outside the football club. It’s an opportunity for all of us now to move on, but in the right direction.”
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