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MANAGER: Hopefully it will all become clear

Paul Simpson on the ongoing talks about the future

19 April 2022

With the Blues having reached the 50-point marker on Monday it’s pretty obvious that the focus will now switch the pressing matter of whether or not the interim manager post, or whatever you want to call it, will become a permanent thing for the current incumbent.

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And adding more impetus to the need for a resolution to the situation is the fact that the end of the current season is now something of an offshoot to the need to prepare properly for the next one.

“As soon as I know what’s happening I’ll let everyone know,” Paul Simpson said. “There will be conversations, and I’ve already had one with John Nixon about it.

“I want to now gather all of the information that I want. I’ve explained to him how I think the club needs to be structured, and how I would like to do it, and I’m just waiting to find out the outcome of that.

“I haven’t even asked about my contract, because there are other things I need to be clear on first before we even worry about that. It’s a case of making sure that the club can be structured properly to give us a fighting chance.

“I’ve also said that we need to be prepared for a little bit of pain along the way, because there are going to have to be some changes, and let’s see.

“I’m quite sure we’ll have a conversation again this week, but I think over in the boardroom they’re all just massively relieved.

“They keep saying thank you to me, but I’ve loved it. I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s me who needs to thank them for giving me the invite to come in here.

“It’s been a really big challenge, a massive adventure, I’ve loved it, and hopefully, if it’s the right possibility to go on and take the club forward, then hopefully I’ll still be talking to you all next season as well.”

“My feeling is it needs to be resolved as soon as we possibly can do it,” he added. “But it’s not something I’m going to jump into and make a rash decision, and let my heart rule my head.

“My heart tells me I want to be here but my head’s also saying yes, but it has to be right. That’s not me being arrogant or thinking I’ve got ideas above my station.

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“I’m where I am in my career. This has been a brilliant opportunity, I’m so happy I got invited to come and do it, and I’m glad I took it.

“It would have been easy to be at home, be on my backside, watching Soccer Saturday, listening to Jeff Stelling and them lot on the telly.

“It’s been a really good thing for me and I’d really like to carry it on. If everything is right, I hope I’ll be here for pre-season.”

Another obvious factor is budget, so do there need to be reassurances on that?

“No, the budget is what it is, they can’t magic money out of thin air,” he insisted. “If they haven’t got it, they haven’t got it.

“It’s a case of getting a structure right, off the grass, to make sure everything is done properly. Pulling a club together so we have a togetherness about, which I think there’s been a divide in the football club for whatever reason.

“We need to pull that all together, tighten it up and get everybody pulling in the right direction.

“There has to be changes to the squad, players might not like to hear that, but that is the nature of football. Because I said it last week, the league table doesn’t tell lies.

“This is where we are as a group and we have to make sure we’re better. I know the directors don’t want to be where we are, they don’t want to be taking flak.

“I know players don’t want to be where they are, and nor do staff with where we’ve been this season. We have to get a group together that’s going to go and push on.

“I think we’ve shown over this run of 12 games when we’ve competed against top sides, we’ve shown there’s not a huge difference.

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“If you look at the games we’ve played against the likes of Newport, Northampton, Bristol Rovers, maybe Exeter, we were very good.

“There isn’t a huge difference, but there is a difference. We have to try and bridge that gap and get a mentality in this club that is thinking top of the table and not bottom of the table, because at the bottom is where I can’t be.

“If I’m coming in I want to be competing at the top. I’m sure our supporters want to be competing at the top, so let’s try. I can’t guarantee I’m going to do it, but that’s my thoughts, that where I want to go. Let’s see what comes.”

The other rumour doing the rounds is that an acceptance of the role will not be forthcoming unless there’s a change in the boardroom ahead of the new campaign.

“The truth Is I don’t have any control over that, because I can’t clear the debt,” he told us. “That’s out of my control, and I just needed some conversations to understand that they’re trying everything to make that happen, and that’s what I have been told.

“These things are not easy. I mentioned recently about the Derby County takeover, how long that’s been going on, I’m aware of that because I still live in the Derby area.

“These things don’t happen overnight, but so long as everybody is trying to do the right things for the football club, and we can do everything we can to make this a positive experience for people coming in, we give ourselves a real fighting chance of generating support, sponsorship, revenue, all those things that encourages people to come in.

“I really like what I’ve seen with the work the catering people do outside the main stand with the food wagons, coffee bars, that’s brilliant.

“I’m not sure how that’ll be in December and January when it’ll be absolutely freezing, but I love to see all those things because we have to make coming to Brunton Park a really positive experience for people.

“If we can have those things in place it really makes it easier for the football side. That’s why I explained to John Nixon how I believe things should be structured and run, and he’s explained to me how it’s done at the moment.

“We will have another conversation at some point, probably this week. I’m sure we’ll have those conversations. Hopefully over the next week or two it will all become clear.

“The truth is, if I am going to stay I want to have a fighting chance and I want to be able to hit the ground running. The pre-season schedule I’ve put together for whatever does happen is round about June 20-22, so there isn’t a lot of time and there’s a hell of a lot needs to be done.

“I’m also going to go away for a holiday for the first time since 2020. I’m not bleating about it because we’ve all been in that situation, I’m looking forward to going away and having a bit of time with Jacqui and getting some sunshine, and maybe even some beer.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we need to give ourselves the best chance that, if I am here, when the season starts at the end of July, we aren’t scrapping around and I’m worried about my job. I want a fighting chance of staying in this for the long haul.”

Always a danger when results are going well is that others take notice …

“It’s funny, because there’s a perception that when you win some games of football there’s going to be other clubs banging the door down, but there’s nobody banging the door down for me at this moment in time,” he told us.

“I’m not throwing my name out to people, I don’t have an agent, so I’m not touting myself for anything at all, I just deal with the now.

“There’s no point in me thinking about what if this or that happens, it’s irrelevant. It’s a case of let’s see whether or not this is right, and if it is then let’s take it forward.

“Playing wise, there are certainly players in the group we can build from, but I still do believe three’s a rebuild to take place here on the staffing front and the playing front.

“When I say the staffing front I mean the whole structure of the way things are organised here.

“There’s a little bit of a void, I don’t like the way the club has been separated between the football and office staff.

“I totally get we’ve had to move over to the east stand because of the flooding risk. There’s a disconnect in the club that needs to be brought back together, that’s what it was like before and we need to do everything we possibly can to get that connection, so everybody feels part of the club.

“When you’ve got that, you have everybody pulling in the same direction, and I got the feeling when I came back that that wasn’t right. It’s not just about what’s happening on the grass.

“If you haven’t got the structure right off the grass you’ve got issues going on. There are things that need to happen, hopefully that’ll become clear over the next week or two, and we’ll all know where we’re going.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Paul Simpson on iFollow United now.

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