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Club News

INTERVIEW: Looking forward to getting on with it

More from Greg Abbott on the recruiting role

20 May 2022

In the second part of our interview with head of recruitment Greg Abbott he explained the process of getting targets over the line as the work begins to start in earnest on getting the squad together for the 2022/23 season.

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“Nigel [Clibbens] will tell me the amount of money we’ve got, and it’s up to the three of us to say that we need x for a right back, x for a centre back and a little bit more on the one that will put the ball in the back of the net, because that’s how it tends to be with that one,” he said.

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, we’ll put that together between us, then I’ll go to try and find the pieces or options to make it work.

“When we come to the options, Jacob will be in there, Gav will be there, as will Paul Gerrard and Paul, so the five of us will discuss the players and one man will make the final decision.

“All of that work to make the decision-making part of it easier will be done so that Paul can get on with the other important things he has to deal with.

“I’ve already chatted with Nigel about how much he wants me to do, and I know a lot of the agents and how to manage the budget, and hopefully we’ll get that bit right.”

“At the moment it’s everybody putting everything in, and then filtering the players we think are worth following up,” he added. “In that office everybody has a voice, which is brilliant.

“I have no ego, whatever people put into me we’ll look at it, and we might chuck that one out, or we might chuck one of mine out, and ultimately we’ll be left with what we consider to be the options we feel are the right choices.

“We’ll go through the process of reviewing if they’ve been watched live, have they been watched on WyScout, have we done a character check, do they know what they’re walking into when they come to this club, and do they know what this club is.

“What does it mean to play for Carlisle United - they need to know that. These fans have been starved of some real successful stories on the pitch for too many years, so let’s see if we can be part of something that’s better than what it has been.

“That’s what we’re all here to do. We want to improve on what’s already here.”

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Touching again on his links with the club and the area, he told us: “Even driving into the car park I go a bit funny.

“You see people and all of a sudden you feel like you’re walking into a nice surrounding. There are some good people here, and I know how hard they’ve worked.

“You don’t always get success, but I still think there’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone on. What we’ve got to try to do is make it better.

“I’ve got a bit of a head start because I know how this club works, having been here before, and it’s important that every player knows what we need from them, and that we don’t want them to come here and let us down.

“If they give us everything they’ve got, the football side looks after itself. Their application, attitude and work ethic are non-negotiable, and they won’t be any good for us if they don’t show those three qualities.

“I’ve no problem at all in explaining to targets the importance of that, and making sure they understand what this group of supporters want.”

So is it a role that will see him predominantly based here at Brunton Park?

“It’s another reason for me wanting to take this on,” he replied. “Paul has told me that whatever I need to do is what I have to do.

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“If I need to be here, I come, and if I have to be on the road, I go on the road. With the way you can communicate these days we can meet without being in the same place, so it probably isn’t worth me being here every day.

“I can be out doing other things, rather than back and forward up the road to here, whether it’s meeting people, watching players live, which I love doing, or whatever it is.

“I’ll be here when I need to be here, but it won’t be on a daily basis. At the moment I envisage coming up on a Thursday to plan the following week, speak to the manager and see the other staff.

“We’re going to put a system in place where everything we do is accessible to everyone, which is brilliant, and that will be easy to update and there for everybody to see.

“I’m just looking forward to getting on with it.”

Taking on this position has meant leaving a similar role behind, with Solihull Moors his most recent stomping ground, and that can’t have been an easy decision to make.

“Their manager Neal Ardley is very similar to Simmo,” he said. “He’s a great guy, and the structure he has there is very good.

“They’re boxing above their weight by a long way and it’s down to the fact that they’ve got good people in good positions doing good jobs.

“The owners are fantastic, and they have a technical director in Craig Cope who is doing an unbelievable job. He organises everything, he puts the ducks in a row, and Neal and his staff are excellent off the back of that.

“One of the most important things is that the playing group is together, and so united. Are they the best team, with the best players, I’m not so sure. Do they get paid the most, I’m not so sure, but as a group the togetherness is amazing to see.

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“They’re up there with the best in terms of how they organise and that’s where they get their success. That kind of structure, if you get that right, everything operates well right through the club.

“Nobody has any choice about that because at the top they’re getting it right. If you step out of line they don’t accept it.

“It’s a good model, and if you look at one of the best clubs in the country, arguably the best in the world, they haven’t got it right at the moment. You need to get that structure right before everything else will work in the way you want it to, and that’s on and off the pitch.”

“A massive part of why I’m here is that I want to help bring success here,” he continued. “If I didn’t think I could help the football staff then I wouldn’t take it on just for the sake of a ride.

“We were joking around and talking about reaching Europe, and he said just be careful about what Europe you mean - so I said can we go to Benidorm at the end of the season!

“You’ve got to have ambition, and I have a good outlook to the way I deal with football. I’ve had a fantastic time as a player, coach and manager, and I want to help to provide something here that fans can talk about.

“I’ve had some good times and some not so good times, and I feel that this place is ready for some sort of success. Everyone needs to work hard and work together for us to achieve it.

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“There’s a really good feeling and I want to get started straight away. We’re already looking at players and what we think we can improve on, and where we need to go to find those players, and with all of the experience that’s in that room, I don’t think it will take too long.

“Then you need to try to use your resources and persuasive power to get them to the club. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”

And we wondered how much the cancer battle of 2018 had focused him as a person, and with his attitude towards work.

“That situation when you mention that word, all my family panicked, but when you hear of all the support and good will that’s coming your, it’s amazing,” he said.

“It gave me a massive lift and medically now I’m in a good place. Mechanically it’s not so good, there’s still one or two issues there.

“I’ve got to have another little operation in the summer, but all of that knocked me. It took a lot out of me and I still think there’s a lot mentally that’s affected me with it.

“But I’m well, I’ve got my mojo back, and Paul ringing gave me a real energy to come here.

“I thanked all of the supporters from all of my clubs for the messages, but from here it was unbelievable. That was really good for me, and it made me feel well respected.

“Listen, this might now be a bit of - can I pay that back - with the good work we do over the next two, three, four, five years, however long. I’m craving for the club to be better on the pitch to make life better off the pitch.

“The past few years have been so tough for everybody, the pandemic has been hard work, and hopefully now we’re through that, and there’s a lot of positive energy around, people can grab onto that.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Greg Abbott on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.


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