Clegg and Evans Spending Weekend Interviewing Candidates
Friday, 7th Jan 2011 23:22
Chief executive Simon Clegg and Town owner and chairman Marcus Evans will spend the weekend interviewing potential new bosses. The duo have a number of prospective candidates to speak to with the process already ongoing.
Clegg says he and Evans will spend the next few days working on securing Town’s new manager with an appointment unlikely until Monday at the earliest: “The process is ongoing and we’ll be looking to bring it to a head this weekend. Both Marcus and myself will be involved in the [interview] process. We’ll probably do it separately, then we’ll probably then do it together.”
The Town chiefs know what they are after in a new boss but Clegg was giving little away at Friday’s press conference: “We’ve drawn up a whole list of criteria in terms of what we want for our new manager but I’m not going to put any emphasis on any particular quality.
“We have started the process and we are speaking to a number of people. That process is in train and as soon as I am in a position to announce a new manager I will do so.”
Clegg is well aware that some bookies stopped taking bets on Paul Jewell becoming the Blues boss earlier in the week: “There are a number of names which have been mentioned and I have followed the betting odds with great interest.”
While Jewell is a strong early favourite and Doncaster boss Sean O’Driscoll is another name we understand to be interesting the club, Chris Hughton, Gary Megson, Steve Cotterill, Alan Curbishley, Chris Coleman, Gareth Southgate and Darren Ferguson are all claimed to amongst the other potential candidates.
Jewell's Wigan, Bradford and Derby assistant Chris Hutchings was sacked by Walsall earlier in the week, while one report claims that West Ham coach Wally Downes is being lined up as the Liverpudlian's right-hand man at Town.
The former British Olympic Association chief says he and owner Evans have been assessing Town’s progress, or lack of it, under Roy Keane for a while: “Marcus and I have been discussing the run of form and this has been a fluid and evolving situation. Marcus and I have been discussing the situation for a period of time now and this all came to a head on Thursday.
“Decisions of this nature should not revolve around one particular game. I think we were sixth in the table after we beat Sheffield United at the beginning of November and since then the performance of the team has been very disappointing.
“We’d always said we were going to review the situation at the halfway point of the season. We needed to give the new manager the opportunity to come in and not only have the second half of the season but have the opportunity of the remainder of the transfer window.”
Clegg says he got on well with Keane and dismissed suggestions that the Irishman’s spiky nature led to his exit: “On a personal level, I’ve greatly enjoyed working with him and it’s been a very easy relationship.
“In terms of personality, every manager has their own management style. Having spoken to the players today, a lot of them have benefited from the huge strengths that he brought to the football club.
“This is a hard game and we need to prepare people for the conflict of a football game. Roy has a particular management style. We bought into that, we accepted that, but with the benefit of hindsight it’s not delivered what we hoped it would deliver.”
Clegg refuted accusations that appointing Keane was a mistake: “I certainly don’t accept that it was the wrong decision. With the benefit of hindsight it’s disappointing that he has not been able to achieve the very high standards and the expectations that he demands of himself.
“He’s an awesome individual, someone who I have a huge amount of respect for and have grown to like over the last 20 months. It is disappointing that he wasn’t able to achieve what we set out to achieve.”
Keane regularly bemoaned the lack of support he received in the transfer market, particularly last summer, but Clegg says that with some exceptions deals were done: “He did get the backing of myself and the owner, you only need to look at the track record in terms of the players that were brought in.
“I do accept that there were one or two individuals that we weren’t able to bring in, for whatever reason, primarily driven by the wages they wanted to receive, but that’s history and we move on.”
The 51-year-old promised that the incoming boss would have money to spend: “The new manager will be given assurances that he will have the support and resources to achieve the objectives we have for the club.
“If you look at our track record, every transfer window that Roy’s been here we’ve made some fairly significant signings and we will continue to support the new manager in the way we supported Roy Keane.
“The new manager will face the challenge of getting himself up to speed with the current players and seeing whether he can get more out of the current players than Roy Keane was able to. Look at the squad, identify what the weaknesses are and look to fill those.”
Clegg still sees the play-offs as a realistic target but concedes that the top six is a big ask: “I recognise it’s a huge task and I’m not suggesting that’s an objective we will be setting the new manager, but certainly we need to improve our position in the table and take this club forward. Certainly we should be aspiring for success this season and hoping we can get into the play-offs.”
The chief executive says that unlike when Sir Alex Ferguson recalled his Manchester United players from Preston in the wake of his son Darren’s sacking, Jack Colback’s return to Sunderland was purely down to injuries at the Stadium of Light rather than having anything to do with Keane’s friendship with Steve Bruce: “I spoke to Jack in my office before he got on the road to get back to Sunderland.
“Steve Bruce has called him back and I’m sorry to see him go, I think he’s made a great contribution to this club, both this season and last and he’s the type of player that I’d like to see back here in the future.”
The Harlington-born former Para says that despite the current position and Keane’s sacking, the basis of a decent side is at the club he joined two days before the departed boss: “I’m confident that with the ongoing commitment and support of the owner, the drive and determination of the players and the staff we have the nucleus of a good team and that we can move this club forward.”
Clegg also reaffirmed Evans’s commitment to Town: “He remains absolutely firm behind this football club and will continue to support it.”
Photo: Action Images
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