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Interviews

MANAGER: It needs to be an incredible bid

Paul Simpson on what he expects to be a quite deadline day

1 September 2022

Interviews

MANAGER: It needs to be an incredible bid

Paul Simpson on what he expects to be a quite deadline day

1 September 2022

United boss Paul Simpson confirmed at his deadline day press conference that he’s expecting a quiet afternoon and evening, with the club’s business done and dusted when defender Duncan Idehen completed his loan move from Bristol just over a fortnight ago.

“I think it’ll be quiet for us,” he said. “I’ve made it quite clear that we’re at our limit with what we can do, and I’ve got to say that with the work we’ve done so far in this window I’m pleased with the balance we’ve got.

“It’s the first window where we can actually affect the medium and long-term plan for what we want to achieve here, and we now move on.

“We’ve had a decent start, but the injuries we’ve had have been disappointing for us. Hopefully we’ll get them all back and fit sooner rather than later. That’s when our selection headaches will really begin.”

As with any window, activity can be sparked by a bid coming in for a player, but the manager also confirmed that incoming enquiries had pretty much already been dealt with.

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“To be honest, we were in that position earlier in this window because we have had enquiries about players,” he told us. “My response has been to say no, I don’t want them to go.

“The enquiries I have had have been for players that I don’t want to leave, hence I’ve said no to it. I’m under absolutely no pressure from the board to be getting rid of players to balance books, or things like that, so hopefully we won’t receive any more bids.

“I’m really not expecting it and, if one comes, it would have to be for silly money or I wouldn’t even consider it. Greg Abbott is in today for that ‘just in case’ scenario, and we have players in mind who, if we do get another enquiry on somebody who we’ve had a call about, then we’re in a position to replace them.

“That’s not because I want it to happen, but we have to be ready if it does. I like to be prepared as much as I can be.

“Who knows, but as I’m sat here on Thursday afternoon on deadline day we haven’t had any phone calls with silly money involved, and hopefully that remains the case.

“I can assure you that I won’t be sitting beside my phone and there won’t be any takeaway food getting sent to the offices. I’m off to my temporary home for the next few weeks as soon as my work is done here, and I’ll be thinking about the game at the weekend.

“I’ve been in situations before where late bids have come in for my players, and it is a bit of a nightmare. I’m not expecting that today and, if it does happen, it needs to be an incredible bid otherwise there’s no pressure on us to do it.”

We’ve covered this subject before, but with the hype around the activity that takes place at the top of the pyramid we wondered whether or not he felt the whole concept of a transfer window is fair, particularly for clubs in the lower divisions.

“Do you know something, I don’t even think about fairness,” he commented. “It’s just the rules, and we have to get on with it.

“It’s a daft one because I’m not sure when the transfer window concept fully kicked in at this level, but I didn’t see the point in it when it did.

“Clubs at this level are all working to a really tight budget and my philosophy is that every pound is a prisoner. You have to look after every penny you have and spend it really wisely.

“There are all sorts of financial challenges going on for clubs, but everybody is told that they have to have a squad in place to deal with the next however many games it is until the start of January, when we don’t know what scenarios we might have to face.

“I’m in a position where when we get the likes of Morgan Feeney, Ryan Edmondson, Paul Huntington, Taylor Charters, Ben Barclay, Tobi Sho-Silva – Scotty Simons is looking at December, Josh Dixon is February, Brennan Dickenson May next year – but when we have everybody fit we have a number of players who are not going to be playing.

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“That’s because I simply won’t be able to select them. That means I have a group of players who are desperate to play, and I have to continue to pay them, but I know they’ll be surplus and I won’t even be able to even get them into the 18.

“It’s really daft that I’ve got to have these players under the current rules, when under the old system I could take a loan signing as an emergency for a month and then, when you got your own player fit, the loanee could go back.

“That worked, but now we have to outlay money on players who, the chances are, aren’t going to play every game. I do think that’s strange.”

“And when you talk about the January window, it’s a really difficult one,” he continued. “I know from that I’ve been told about last January that Keith [Millen] tried to bring a number of players in and it didn’t happen.

“When that’s the case you can end up going frantically after signings on the last day, and I really hope we’re not in that position. My idea of having a recruiting plan in place, and in bringing Greg in, was that we have structure in what we want to do.

“Things change, of course they do, be that with injuries or you lose a player long-term. Somebody could leave, there are all kinds of things, but you have to react to them.

“I hope we have an idea in place of what might be coming about and also who we would want to come in to make the squad stronger. That’s how we want January to happen and I’ve said it before, I hope I’m not being delusional about it, but I’m planning that I’m going to be here for a long time, so I want to know what I’m going to be doing in each window.

“Right now I’m not only thinking about where we are at the end of the summer window, I want an idea of what I might have to do in January as quickly as possible. That needs to happen over the next few weeks so that I can start thinking ahead.

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"Then, I’ve also got half an eye on next summer as to where we are in terms of who is out of contract, who has the options that we can renew, and all of the different things that can affect what the squad looks like after we’ve played our last game.

“It can’t be a case of ‘ooh, wow, I didn’t expect that’. You have to panic and then do something rushed when you let yourself get into that position. That’s why you have to put a plan in place, and I hope I’m here long enough to see the plan through.

"The other amazing thing is that you see the top clubs, with the amount of staff they have, and they're scrabbling around on deadline day. What we've done is we've looked in the right areas and we've shopped in the right bucket for what we can afford, and we've done it early.

"The staff are massive at a football club, and my way of managing is to get people in posts who can do the job. As a manager I'm only as good as the staff and players, and so far they've been fantastic.”

With that in mind, the period between now and the winter window has to be about assessing the current squad so that potential moves can be lined up, should they be required.

“Without a doubt, that’s what it has to be,” he agreed. “We have to get a plan in place so that we do know what we’re doing.

“I’m not saying we’re going to get all of them right. That’s something I said to the players this morning, I don’t expect them to get every decision right either, but we have to try to get most of them right.

“That’s the same with recruitment, we have to try to get as many of the decisions right as we can. That’s why we do our background checks and get as much info as possible.

“There’s no point me saying that I want to bring Joe Bloggs in come January, who lives down in London, and we do loads of work and prep only to find that when we speak to him there was never any chance he was going to want to make the trip up north in the first place.

“We need to have an idea of what we’re doing. We’ll do the work we need to do on character references and player checks, and we’ll assess whether or not it interests the player, and we’ll take it from there.

"At the moment it's too early to say that all of them will work, but we'll watching that. We have to be aware that loan players can be recalled in January, but hopefully we do enough with them that their parent cluybs will see this is a good place for us to be.”

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