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MANAGER: Impossible to do it all on your own

Paul Simpson on head of recruitment and keeper coach roles

6 May 2022

One of the first blocks in this summer’s rebuild appears that it is about to fall into place as Paul Simpson continues his pursuit of a head of recruitment to add to his team of backroom staff.

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“It’s impossible to do it all on your own in this job,” he said. “That was a mistake I made early on in my managerial career.

“I tried to do it all on my own and I also had the tag of being a player. I didn’t deal with it very well or manage my time well, so I’ve realised I need help and good people around me.

“I’m not someone who micro-manages every situation, I try to put people into positions where they can do their jobs.

“If I see they aren’t doing it, I’ll have a word with them and point them in the right direction. If they carry on not doing it I’ll make a call and change it, but if they’re doing their job it makes my life so much easier.”

“Once we get a head of recruitment in he can manage that side of things for me,” he added. “He’s coming in with a blank piece of paper, which is fantastic.

“It’s a challenge in one respect because we’ve got nothing to go off, but if everything goes to plan he’s coming from a job where he’s doing this already.

“He’s very, very experienced and he’s got a knowledge of the leagues and the players who are going to be available.

“Hopefully he’ll be able to give us a fighting chance of getting the players we want. Hopefully that will be done soon, I’d like to think it will be sorted early next week.

“He's still in a job at the moment so he has to do that properly and I totally respect that, but the sooner the better for me so we can all get working.”

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Speaking more on the timescales involved, he commented: “I’m not putting any timescale on it. When people are making important decisions, the head of recruitment one is more about the fact he’s already employed at another club.

“Things have to be done properly on that side of it. I can’t say where or who it is but that I would like to think that will be done next week, everything’s agreed on that.

“It’s a case of waiting and being respectful of the fact he’s already in a job.”

Another position to be finalised is the keeper coach, with current incumbent Paul Gerrard currently mulling over an offer to stay with the Cumbrians.

“We’ve had conversations, but he’s spent a lot of time away from his family so he’s had a few days with them this week,” he explained. “It’s not something I’m going to force onto anybody.

“He’s making all the noises that he wants to be here, so we’ve got to make sure it’s absolutely right for him and that we’re absolutely right for him.

“I spoke to him today [Thursday] and said there is going to come a point where I’ll say right, what are you going to do, sign it or we’ll shake hands and move on.

“He understands that and he wants to get it done. Next week he’s planning to go and watch a few Premier League clubs working, watch their goalkeepers working, then he’s got a holiday booked.

“He wants to know before he goes on holiday where he’s going to be next season. If he’s here, he’s got work to do to make sure we get everything ready for when we get back.

“As of now we’re trying to get the right deal and make it right for everybody. I want to know soon, but I’m not forcing anybody’s hand.

“Last thing I want to do is put someone’s arm up behind their back and make them make a decision they regret down the line. It’s making sure he wants to be here, and we’re the right club for him.”

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And as a group of staff, one of the main priorities has to be recruitment, with changes and additions expected over the coming weeks and months.

“Being honest, we’re not too far down the line with that because we’re not allowed to,” he said. “We have to go by the rules, no club is allowed to approach a player who is still under contract, so once the retained and released lists are put out by clubs then we can discuss things with clubs or players or agents.

“I’ve been inundated with agents contacting me with lists of players, so we’ve got lists of players for every position.

“We’ll put our heads together either Monday or Tuesday next week so we can put a line through people we don’t like, and we’ll all put our opinions into the mix.

“Ultimately it will be my call because it’s my head on the block if it all goes wrong, but we’re working together as a group of staff.

“We’ll get to a certain point then we’ll hand it over to Nigel [Clibbens] to work on the finances. I think if we do it properly we could be in a good position.”

“We actually don’t have to notify the players of their retain or release situation until the third Saturday in May,” he added. “I’m going to tell ours on Monday, so they will all know.

“But in my opinion it’s totally disrespectful to contact any player until the clubs have told them whether they’re retained or released. It’s a case of waiting.

“I’ve got an idea of who is available. At the moment we’re compiling lists of players in positions that are available. We’ll whittle it down to maybe a one, two, three, we might have to go four or five, but we will get what we believe are the best for each position and hopefully have the majority in on June 22 when we start back and keep building as we go through.

“With rumours, obviously Paul Huntington is a player who I think everybody has put two and two together and come up with five.

“I know he’s from this area, I believe he’s just had a new house built here. I don’t know the situation with Paul.

“He’s had a fantastic career, he’s a leader, experienced, if we felt Paul Huntington was right I’m quite sure there would be a conversation, but at the moment there hasn’t been one.”

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

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