Keith Curle on his contract extension with the clubManager Keith Curle spoke to us about the conclusion of his contract negotiations which sees him stay with the club until the summer of 2018.
“The contract is now agreed between myself and the football club and I have to say the negotiations have been very enjoyable,” he said. “I’m probably the hardest manager John Nixon has ever had to deal with because the attention to detail from both parties has been extreme.
“We all want things to be right and I think that’s very pleasing. It hasn’t all been about money but it has been about rewards, not only for me, but for my staff and players as well. I think everyone connected with the football side of things needs to be incentivised and they need to be able to reach achievable targets which show continued progression.
“Everything from where we train to the facilities we have needed to be discussed so that we all knew we had the same level of focus and ambition. Make no mistake, I want to be at a club which has ambitions to improve and better itself on and off the pitch. I think this demonstrates that the football club shares my ambition and I’m really happy about that.”
“If you look back to when I came into the club, we were four points adrift and we had a relegation battle on our hands,” he commented. “We’ve already taken massive strides to make sure that isn’t going to be the same again - and that doesn’t just happen by accident.
“The attention to detail from all of my staff is second to none. We want people around us who have the right character and attributes to help us to get where we want to be.
“The next stage was obviously to get my contract sorted out and we’re there with that now. There are some smaller details to be worded correctly within the contract, and it’s then a case of the legal people putting it together in standard contract format. It then goes to the Football League and everyone knows what it is they’re working to.”
“In terms of my staff, they will stay in place until the end of the season,” he explained. “They will then be up for review at that stage. There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way at all. It shows that any work done behind the scenes will be rewarded come the end of the season.
“The good thing for all of us is that the club has bought into my philosophy. They’ve backed me and they’ve been very supportive every step of the way. Strides are being made in every department to make it a better place and that’s how you build success.
“My responsibility will be to manage the football side of that because, when it comes down to it, it’s the results on the pitch which can help to drive so many of the other areas along. Points on the board will rightly be my focus. We’ve created a good environment with what we’ve done over the last year and it’s good that we will be able to carry that on going forward.”
Looking back to Tuesday night and some of the individual performances, he said: “It was massively pleasing for Charlie Wyke to get his goal. He's learning how to do the horrible side of the game.
“Charlie is a goal scorer and he's one of the most accomplished finishers at the club. Sometimes, when you come from academy football, the rough and tumble of the game and the mental side of it doesn't quite come naturally. He's learning that and getting his rewards and I thought he took his goal really well.
“I thought Alex Gilliead came on and did well. It was a gamble leaving him out, but the work rate he put in on Saturday was an education for him. He didn't enjoy the Portsmouth game and I knew the physical side of it would have drained him. Tuesday was the right opportunity to give him a rest. He couldn't wait to get on the pitch because he knew he could cause them problems.”
And on 100 appearances and the automatic contract extension for keeper Mark Gillespie, he said: “Mark had a period of time out of the team through injury, so we gave him a contract with an incentive written into it for playing 20 games. In our opinion that would be him showing us he's free from injury and ready to push on.
“He's earned that and he's taken on board the new coaching regime with Simon Tracey, who he now has a good understanding with. We’re pleased for him because we think he’s only going to get better and better.”
And on the absence of Newcastle loanee Macaulay Gillesphey, he said: “We're hoping he is going to step up his rehab during the latter stages of this week. He's got one of those injuries that sometimes happen when the player is adapting to professional football, because of the tempo we train at.
“You do go through a period of time where your body and mind need to adapt. That can leave you feeling shattered. We have to pick the right time to play young players, to keep the hunger there, but we also need to be mindful that we need to keep them right.”