United’s new head coach Chris Beech faced the press for the first time this afternoon just hours after it was revealed that he was taking up the position at Brunton Park.
Speaking about what has been a whirlwind few days, he commented: “I’m really pleased to be here. I went through a strong interview process and it’s good to find that I’m sitting here today.
“Getting back into football feels fantastic and the opportunity here is massive. Carlisle is a big football club, the support base is big and it can grow and get better. With the facilities, everything’s in the right place, the right way.
“Everybody always wants a little bit more, a little bit better, a little bit newer, but this is what it is. I want to make sure I can make a small difference in making a big difference, in how our supporters feel on a Saturday, how our lads feel after they’ve won, how we can all go about our business in the future.”
And on taking up a head coach position for the first time he admitted that it had been a long-standing ambition to make the step up.
“I’ve been coaching for 15 years which is a long time,” he told us. “I can’t even remember playing and I don’t think many supporters remember me playing.
“It’s been a massive, strong ambition. I think it slowed down in terms of when I started out, I wanted to be the youngest qualified coach in the country. I got the Pro Licence and the Academy Manager’s Diploma in management.
“I was never at home, constantly on a course, constantly developing, really at it, 12-hour days, seven days a week in the early days at Bury. I was the reserve team, youth team and Centre of Excellence manager all at one time. Try that nowadays! EPPP has been a godsend for youth staff, there’s somebody for everything.
“It’s a good apprenticeship. I feel that looking at it, everybody gets through in a different way. I’m sat here today talking to you, but you’ve got to start somewhere. With me having respect, and taking advantage of the good work we did at Rochdale, I was always 100 per cent supportive of the manager.
“The reason we worked so well was because there was freedom within my job description to do many things, and almost be as a manager. Keith Hill would often leave that responsibility and it was a good balance.
“I have an ambition, of course I do. I look at people like Eddie Howe, I look at people like Dean Smith. Dean had a lot of sympathy for me – he invited me in, because he lost his job at Leyton Orient after five to six years helping Martin Ling. What do I do now?
“He was talking about opening some soccer school, and he ends up becoming head of youth at Walsall, which would play against my team. He’s had a different way in, a different route. Intelligence, luck, success, and he’s in the Premier League now, along with other types of coaches in terms of how they’ve got there.
“Brendan Rodgers was another who didn’t really play, finished, and spent a long time coaching before he gets his opportunity. I know that’s at a lot higher level. I’m realistic in where we are but, for whatever reason, it’s me here now and I want to make it a success.”
Elaborating more on his close working relationship with Keith Hill, he said: “Keith has been a massive influence for me, as he has been for a lot of players and a lot of people.
“He’s very intelligent, hard-working and demanding, and they’re the same traits I have. We worked very well together, and we brought historic club records to Rochdale. Whether that was the highest League One points tally they’ve ever had, their highest transfer fee or the most cup runs.
“Keith didn’t quite complete that in his first term there, but we did in his second spell. A big part of that success was the foundations of that youth system, in terms of utilising players who can play for less in terms of finance, but playing like they have the value of a sought after league player at that level. That has served and continues to serve Rochdale well, to this day.”
“He’s someone I’ll be able to bounce off, but there are a lot of people in the game I can speak to. I haven’t been sat at home for the past few months, I’ve been in at Liverpool, Burnley and I’ve been to see a good friend of mine Dean Smith at Aston Villa.
“Of course you need to lean on people, who doesn’t, but at the same time I understand that as the head coach I’m responsible for the first team and I want to develop our players within that.
“I want to look at the good things the lads have been doing and I want to enhance that. I want to make sure that we improve our deficiencies and I want to make sure that we can reconnect with the supporters.
“I want traits within our performances that represent Carlisle people and that represent hard work, honesty and integrity. I want to see the players really perform on those levels and make sure that they get stronger and better. It’s an obvious thing to say but if we do things quicker and faster, it will help us to get more points.”
And as for a style of play, he said: “Whatever we say about formations or systems, I want to win. I want to make sure we dominate an opposition but, of course, the other team wants to do that to us.
“It can only ever be three things, you’ve either got the ball, not got the ball or it’s in transition. I want us to be the best team with the football and we’ll get that by moving it quickly.
“I want us to penetrate and I want to see us getting numbers forward with players getting into the box. I want the turnovers so we’ll need to be pressing high and I want to look at consistently getting clean sheets and scoring goals.
“There’s a lot of work to be done but I’ve seen some good things in the team and the squad and I want to utilise that. Like any coach I have a preferred style of play but when you don’t necessarily work at having the biggest budget to get the best players, I think you’ve got to be adaptable.
“My way isn’t my way, it’s our way. It’s alright having a plan, and it’s great me having a plan, but it has to be bought into by the staff and through the players. They’re the ones who have to implement it and they’re the chaps who to make sure they’re right on point on a match day.”
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