In the final part of our interview with director of football David Holdsworth he spoke more about the change of policy over the course of the last year which has led to longer contracts handed out with a view to developing a more stable squad.
“We had to take a step back in terms of the way the club was structured when I first got here and that was a key thing I’ve looked at and changed,” he said. “People were critical of the one-year deals saying there was no continuity, but when you’re in that transition period it’s difficult and you can make mistakes.
“If your recruitment isn’t correct you end up having to write cheques for people to leave. Sadly it didn’t go right for Steven [Pressley] and we wish him well, but the good thing was that we weren’t left in a situation where we had to shell out an amount of money to get rid of players that weren’t really what Chris wanted.
“To have continuity you have to build from strength. Players will be given contracts if they deserve them. We have to support players and also protect the club, like we did with Branthwaite, Galloway and McCarron, and as we’ve just done with Lewis Bell.”
“There’s a great spirit within the dressing room and the office staff at the moment because we know what we’re building towards,” he continued. “It’s a tough time for football financially but we’ll only give contracts based on success.
“There were a lot of players here last year who didn’t know where their futures were going to be, and some of them are still out of contract. We’ve got players now who want to be here and want to wear the shirt with pride.
“We’ve got players who have moved to the area and who spend more time here, so they get a better understanding of the Cumbrian spirit and the togetherness within the community.
“You don’t want to get too excited about things this early in the season but you have to look at the facts. Those boys are working hard and they’ve bought into Carlisle, and hopefully that will mean that my job will be easier next summer.
“It was slightly easier this year because we had seven or eight players already. Ideally we don’t want to make too many changes, but there are people who said they’d only take a one-year contract, which is fine. Most of them I’ve got an option with, so if they’re doing really well and they buy into Chris Beech, then I’ll just extend.”
“Manchester United in the 80s under Alex Ferguson only had a small percentage of turnover,” he commented. “Liverpool have done the same now, and the best clubs have those situations tied up.
“Those clubs have got the finances, we have to be more careful which makes it a harder job, but on a smaller scale we can have that. It takes time, but we’ve created something where it means there aren’t players thinking about moving on straight away because they like being here.
“In terms of turnover, I want it to reduce again, but I can only do that based on what Chris and the team do on the pitch.”
Using the Mellish deal as an example, he said: “With Jon, I sat down with Chris and we both talked about the fact we could see more in him, so why not protect the club and also look after him?
“It doesn’t always work that way, players might want to move back to an area for all sorts of reasons, but we have to look at the overall situation. Chris should be commended for how the players are playing at the moment, but it’s down to the players to continue that.
“I think we’re one point off the top of the table as we sit here now which is brilliant, but I think if you look at the season on a month-by-month basis that will give you a better idea of where we’re going to be.
“You start to find out more about other clubs, there are clubs who have spent money and who have big expectations from their directors and their fans. Some clubs might be looking at the money they’ve spent and thinking they aren’t getting value for that money.
“I look at the owners of other clubs and where their expectations are for their club. We know where we are and what we expect, and that’s why I worry more about the owners who dive in. They give managers support and end up paying out millions, they’ve got away with it before the cap came in, but they’re probably left with players who aren’t giving them as much value for money.
“They can do that, but I would worry about that continuity and expenditure without any fans in stadiums. It could have a really bad effect on some clubs, which you obviously hope it doesn’t, because the consequences are huge.
“One thing I know is that we won’t get ourselves in that situation. We’re doing everything we can to protect the club, but also perform on the pitch.”
And on the current EWM situation, he told us: “Since I’ve been at the football club, EWM have been brilliant.
“A lot of things are said in the papers but it isn’t my business to share anything about that. EWM are fully in support of Carlisle United and we’re very grateful for the way they’ve supported us.
“The club would be in a different place without EWM and I think people should respect that. They’re in the papers because they’re high profile, they’ve got an unbelievable business that they’ve built up based on the way they do things.
“I hope they’re safe and remain safe, but that’s as much as I can tell you. They’ve been an amazing support for this club and long may that continue.”
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