Joint Assistant Manager Lee Dykes on his new contract deal
United’s Joint Assistant Manager and Head of Recruitment Lee Dykes spoke to us about the signing of his new contract and about interest from elsewhere as he looks forward to the next two years with the Blues.
Speaking first about the negotiations and discussions needed before reaching the point of the exchange of signatures, he said: “There’s a lot of trust in our football club at all levels and, from my point of view, that’s the same when it comes to the manager. He brought me here from Oldham - what seems like a lifetime ago now - and I’m still very happy that was the case.
“This has taken a while to sort out but for me it always has to be football first. I want to play my part in making sure things go right on and off the field and, rightly or wrongly, that comes before anything else. I then get myself sorted out when all of that is taken care of.
“It’s a situation that has rumbled along for a while now but we’ve always been confident it would get there. I’ve spoken before about how frustrating it can be when player signings take a long time to finalise but it’s the same as any job in any department at a club.
“It needs to be right for the individual because there’s no point in agreeing something which causes confusion a couple of months down the line. That’s why we’ve taken our time to do it properly.”
As announced yesterday, the new contract brings a change in title and role as Dykes joins Colin West as Joint Assistant Manager, as well as maintaining focus on his role as head of recruitment within the club.
“There’s a bit of personal pride which comes with being given this change in role,” he admitted. “To be doing this at such a young age, and coming from where I’ve come from, it feels like it’s a great achievement. However, it’s not something I’ll dwell on and I will continue to strive to better myself so I can help the manager and this club in the best way I can.
“I’ll still head up player recruitment because that’s what I came to the club to do. Obviously I will now have a more active role when it comes to coaching and training sessions, but it isn’t really anything new for me. I was pretty much doing this job role anyway last season and I was always there to assist the manager from the sidelines, along with Colin [West].
“I love to coach and to be involved with trying to get the message the manager wants to send across to the players. The camaraderie between the staff and players is excellent and that kind of close-knit group is something we have been working for from day one. It’s something we will continue to nurture and develop.
“If you look at the likes of Leicester and Wales you see they have an amazing team spirit first and foremost and that’s what we want to have here.”
Speaking about the length of the contract, which runs in-line with the deal given to first team manager Keith Curle, he said: “I suppose from the outside looking in you could say that it brings a sense of stability. That has to be pleasing for the fans because stability breeds success.
“All things considered I think we had a successful season last year and it’s nice to see the club backing Keith [Curle] in what he’s trying to do. He’s brought his own staff in and I believe we work well together.
“We’re all confident enough to voice our views if we feel it’s needed because we all want the same thing, and that’s whatever the best thing is for Carlisle United.”
A much used - possibly overused - word in football is ‘loyalty’ but Dykes confirmed that he had turned down an offer to move to a club in a higher division for the second year running in favour of staying at Brunton Park.
“Being honest, I did speak to people,” he admitted. “I did have to consider it but that’s what I will always do, whatever industry I work in going forward. If someone makes an approach it tells me I’m doing good things and that it’s been recognised.
“The football club I spoke to is a very, very good club with experienced people at the helm and I think they will go on to be a driving force, and very successful. I felt I owed it to them for having made an approach to speak to them. Part of that was because I had it in the back of my mind that I was out of contract here. I wouldn’t get to the negotiation stage with anyone else in any other situation.”
“Keith is a big part of the reason why I decided to stay,” he revealed. “He spoke to me a lot and he sold me his vision again. I was made to feel wanted, needed and more than welcome and the fact is I have a very close affiliation with this club anyway.
“I like it here, I like the area and it fits completely with the next stage of my development. And, to be fair to Carlisle United, they also spoke to me and showed how much they felt they wanted and needed me here. That was important because it helped to show me where this football club feels it’s going.
“It became to clear to me that all parties are pointing in the same direction and, again being honest, probably the most courageous move for me to make was to stay. A move away would have taken me to a higher division straight away, so it was something to think about. However, I’m close to the other staff here and I’m looking forward to working with them so that hopefully we will all get to the next level together.”
On player recruitment, and the additions made to the squad through the summer, he said: “We’re happy with how things are going but we will never feel that we’re complete. As the season starts we will already be planning for the next transfer window, and the next one, and even for next summer.
“We have to think that far ahead because the process of improvement never stops. We are a very proactive recruitment team because we need to know that we’re bringing good characters into the building. The manager usually tells me to go and get Pogba, Ronaldo and Neymar - so I try to get as close to that as possible!”
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