It’s just over a month since Dan Brownlie was appointment first team manager at Basingstoke Town; so Chris Sheridan, a young reporter from Southampton, found time to catch up with the Gaffer about how he’s settled into his new role;
You’ve had a great start here at Basingstoke Town – what have you been most pleased about?
Well, on the surface it’s the results. It’s a results industry and it’s something we needed to sort quickly as our league position was far from healthy. To dig a little deeper however, I’ve been more pleased with the reaction I’ve got from the boys. You never quite know if they’re going to buy into your ideas and the way you want to play and run things – and it appears, at least in the early stages, that they are doing so. I said in the early stages that it’s not going to be an overnight process, and whilst results have been good; we still want to improve all over the park. I’m fortunate that I have a group that want to continually improve – it’s a great characteristic of a team.
After a string of good results; is there ever a concern that complacency may set in?
We haven’t anything to be complacent about. It’s as simple as that. Yes, the boys have done well in recent weeks but we’re not where we want to be in the league and when we eventually get to where we want to be, the ambition won’t be to stay there – it’ll be to try and push even further. There are too many characters of good standing in our side to allow complacency to ever set in.
Has anyone particularly impressed you since taking over?
I wouldn’t say one singular person as such – but the one thing that has impressed me is the squads growing togetherness. You can see the spirit continuing to build every time they see each other. The senior players have really stepped up to that; and it’s filtering down to the younger players. It’s creating the environment where nobody feels exposed or cautious about opening their mouth – it’s a group that want to look after each other and that transfers onto the pitch.
What’s more is that the togetherness is not just stopping within the group, there seems to be a real connection with the fans. Again, that’s huge. We will do our best to limit the tough times, but there will of course be moments – the difference now is that the fans are starting to understand just how much it means to these players to be representing them and this town. In that, I’ve no doubt that if our chips are ever down – they will be there to help pick them up again as they demonstrate time and time again.
You’re playing the top three sides in the league across November, have you set any targets for the squad?
In truth, no. Our concentration must remain solely on the next game, it serves very little purpose looking much further ahead than that. I’m of course well aware that we’ve got a tough month coming up and I’ve no doubt we’ll enter most of November’s games as the underdog – but that’s a label we’ve held for the past four weeks and its served us pretty well so far.
You’ve made one signing since your announcement – are you expecting to make many more?
Yes. Although there is no rush in doing so. It was important that I reexamined the squad and gave them and I the opportunity to see what they could do within a new system and with different ideas. We’ve brought in Aaron Kuhl who played in the game against Cirencester and he’s been superb – not just in the 75 minutes that he played, but he’s fit in perfectly with the squad. We’re monitoring a couple of players at the moment; so we’ll see what happens there but I only want to bring in players of the right ilk – it’s not enough to just be talented; they need to suit and enhance the environment we are trying to create.
You announced Aaron Nicholson in your management team, how have you found it?
Aaron’s been great. In the early stages he was helping me out – but as I got to know a little bit more about him and the way he works I was keen to get him on board. He’s great, particularly with the younger lads and offers a connection to our academy who are going to play a big role going forward. I’m still looking at bringing in one more; but again, there is no rush on that.
You play Melksham for the second time in eight days, what are your thoughts going into the game?
I thought it was a good game last week, it was a good test physically and they clearly have got quality in good areas of the pitch. I’ve no doubt they’ll be making a few changes and we’ll have a couple of our own. Whilst we are likely to be without Kuhly and Cliff, and of course with D’andre picking up a knock that’ll see him out for a couple of weeks – we will need to continue to utilise the squad. Whoever puts on our shirt; there is an expectancy to to give there all – it’s a prerequisite of being afforded the opportunity to represent this club – so whoever is in that starting XI on Saturday, they’ll be doing everything they can to get us in the hat on Monday.
Interviewed by – Chris Sheridan.