Keith Curle on meetings with players and planning ahead
Manager Keith Curle spoke more about the meetings he had with two players last week as he begins to look towards the reshaping of his squad ahead of next season.
“The meetings we had with players last week were very positive,” he said. “The situation with both is that they are currently under contract, but they see an opportunity to progress their careers with us.
“They've got to honour the contracts they have with their football club even though we are coming to the end of the season. We're in that period now where players and their agents are making forward plans. The good thing is that the players have got qualities that will suit me and, I feel, will help to take us further.
“It was an opportunity for me to meet the players and get to know a bit about their character and personality. Obviously it’s a chance for them to meet me as well. I find it very difficult for me to sign somebody I don’t like. The characteristics they bring to the football club have got to be what we need. There has to be a desire and a willingness to win and they have to want to buy into what we’re trying to build here.
“I want to see a level of honesty from them and I do tell them they won’t deal with many more honest managers than me. If I’m not happy with somebody I‘ve got to tell them exactly what I’m not happy about. Some people don’t like that because they prefer it if you take the long way round. I’ve always felt the right thing to do is to tell them. I have good relationships at this football club because I’m approachable and straight.”
“The work on meeting players and representatives has started early but that’s how it has to be sometimes,” he added. “If I was able to have my squad of 24 players finalised by 14 May, complete with the fitness programmes I want them to do ahead of pre-season, I could then really enjoy my summer.
“I could switch my phone off and just watch the grass grow, but there’s no chance that will happen. I'll be lucky enough to take my daughter away, and she'll be trying to get daddy in the pool, and I’m sure I'll be making one more phone call to one more agent or player as I’m telling her I’ll just be another minute or two.
“None of that is a chore because I'm here to improve this football club. Not only myself as a manager, but the coaching staff, the environment, the players, the results and ultimately the football club in best way I can. That’s what I get up for in a morning because I love my job.
“I never get fed up or lose motivation because I've always got a picture of how I can improve individuals, departments and compartments within the football club. There are massive areas we can improve on because we’re in League Two.
“The whole football club is going in the same direction and to improve you need a plan. Success doesn't just happen. You don't just wake up and think you're going to win the league next year, although it would be nice. It's all down to hard work.”
Speaking about the players coming out of contract at the club, he said: “Decisions on players need to wait until the season comes to a close. We will play Notts County on Saturday, have the end of season awards dinner on Sunday and then I will have individual meetings with the players and coaching staff.
“I'll have half an hour with each individual and that won't just be me saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to the players. Some of the players will know they haven't had the game time they require and they want to be playing more games. That might mean they need to find another club with a manager who has a different opinion to me.
“That will afford them more game time and ultimately players want to play football. We've got 27 players here who all want to play. Unfortunately I'm only allowed to pick 18 and within that 11 of them start and potentially three subs can get on. There will always be people who are unhappy and disjointed on a Saturday, but that's an environment that I won't shy away from because I want players around me who want to play football.
“They need to be showing that through the week. Some players have but they’ve been unfortunate because the players who are in their position have been performing and have deserved to keep their shirt.
“The beauty of this game is that different managers will have different opinions on the same player. In my opinion I brought players in last season to give us foundations and pillars we could build from. I’m happy with the character and attitude we’ve brought into the club because we’re competitive in every game we play.”
“We have a game on Saturday which we want to win and we also want to build a squad to take the challenge on again next season,” he concluded. “If you bring the right quality in with the first two or three signings you announce it sends a message out.
“Other people tend to take notice of who they are and they start to think that you’re going for it. People then start to want to get on board. We’ll see what we can do but every signing we make will be with the betterment of this football club in mind.”
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