In an interview with the official website, Chairman Karl Oyston discusses the appointment of Paul Ince as the club's new manager.
Karl, how pleased are you to welcome Paul Ince to Bloomfield Road as the club’s new manager?
I’m pleased that we’ve got someone who is very enthusiastic and wants to bring disciplines that I think we’re lacking. We definitely needed a change of direction in many ways and whilst in my 15 years here I’ve never really felt it necessary, or for the best interests of the club that I get involved in the football side of things in anything other than an overview way, I think it was getting to the stage where I was going to be forced to get involved in the football side of the business because we lacked direction - I think I used the word rudderless which was quite appropriate.
I know in Paul we have someone who has an absolute mandate from us and he has a lot of views of his own on what we need to sharpen up on and what we need to improve in terms of discipline, training regime, the way we coach the players, the way we prepare for games and the way we organise our football staff. I’ll be delighted to assist him with sharpening that side up, because it really does need it.
Did the fact that Paul knows the club and has been at most of the games influence your decision in any way?
I think that’s why it’s probably important that we went through the process that we went through. It would have been the easy choice to make straight away because obviously he’s been in and around the club over the last couple of years and would be better placed than nearly any managerial candidate to know what the issues were both from his own observations and from discussions with his son, in guiding his son to become the player that he’s become. So I think it was important for us to go what we’ve gone through, and not just clutch at the first and nearest person who was right under our noses. I’ve no regrets about the way that we’ve gone through the process, I think we’ve lacked direction and drifted a little bit and I think that could’ve been arrested slightly sooner.
Do you think that Paul has the perfect skills required to come in now and stabilise things going forward?
I think he’d do a good job at any stage. I think it’s fair to say that we have a certain degree of instability for the first time in a long, long time, and we need someone to grab the football side very firmly by the scruff of the neck and get it back on track. There will be players coming and going, probably moreso than we would ordinarily like, so we have that to contend with and that will be a process that will be aided by having the rest of this season to make decisions and formulate opinions about who stays, who goes and who we recruit.
There are some big decisions ahead and he’s certainly not scared of big decisions so that’s good. He wants to strengthen the coaching set up which is also good, I think it’s important that Paul feels comfortable with who he’s got with him and how he goes about what is, I suppose, a positive and progressive step for our development. An overhaul is needed in any business and in any arena and I’m pleased we’ve got someone in who is very much up for the fight.
Have you had any initial discussions with Paul about bringing new players to the club?
Every manager wants to bring players in, I’ve never met one here or anywhere else that doesn’t want to bring players in, that’s a given. I think that for football managers recruitment is the biggest part of the job, and we’ve got several big decisions to make in regards to players to retain and players that we need to bring in. Every club assembles a squad of 23 or 24 that would be a first-team squad, we’ll be no different and so there is a lot of work to do.
You’ve always been keen for continuity and Steve Thompson and the staff have worked hard in the interim.
It must have been very difficult in certain respects, but if you’ve got a clear mandate to go on and do things and try and improve things and change what’s wrong then it must be quite nice as well. I think they’ve had a good chance to show us what they are about and I think they will know, as Paul shuffles the football staff and moulds them into what he wants them to be, I think it’s important that the staff that are here really give it their best go to fit in with Paul’s way of doing things.
I think with the upheaval we’ve had, with two managers going in a short space of time, if we’d not have had the continuity then I think we probably would have had to make a real knee-jerk managerial appointment and that’s never the right thing to do. You should really be very happy and keen to work with the person you take because Paul and I have to work very closely together and the chairman/manager relationship is the most important relationship at any football club. We’ve got to work very closely together now to make sure that we get every last drop we can from all of the football staff. Obviously if we’re doing well on the pitch then it makes life easier on the non-football side. We need to change, change a lot, and it’s good that someone can come in with a totally objective look at the way we do things and make the necessary changes over a period. Too much change too soon isn’t a good thing but change is long overdue and a positive change.