Kevin Blackwell on recent events and bringing new faces to Gigg Lane‘It’s been a very tough time for all concerned at the club, for all the staff around the club and ultimately the fans – the people that care about this football club. It’s been one of the toughest times I’ve had in my career that’s for sure.
It’s been a week since the new chairman and his team came in and you can see the changes around the place. There is a real buzz about the club. They have some really good ideas and the one thing they want to do is to stop this boom and bust scenario. They want stability and the fans want stability. We don’t want to be going through this every ten years. It’s been up and down all the time.
They want stability and they want to put things in place. There will be things in place that the fans will see when they come to the ground, they will see the changes. It’s a whole new breath of fresh air, it’s a clean sweep.
It’s just a professional approach, the very thing that I have been on about and I know I have got on peoples nerves. I don’t see why we keep on thinking that it’s only small Bury. I don’t want that mentality; I want the mentality to be big bright Bury. If we don’t quite reach the stars, I don’t want people to say that it’s just little old Bury. The chairman wants that thought process eradicating.
This is not about what I wanted; it’s what the club needed. I did a report for the board on 14 November and it said that I needed help; I wanted the board to help me. It’s not me – it’s the club that needed the help, I knew that the problems we were having needed some significant help. I made that quite clear. I know some of the fans weren’t happy because of some of the things I was saying, but hopefully now they realise that it needed to be said.
It needed to be said otherwise the club was dead. That was my fear. Whoever came into this football club, and the new chairman knows this, he is just an incumbent for a while – I hope it’s a long while from what I have seen, but Bury Football Club will always be here, and what they should be doing is doing the best for this football club so when they do go, it’s moved forward. Not take what they can out of it and then hand the pieces that are left over. It’s been like putting a jigsaw together.
A manager or a chairman is just an incumbent here. You have to do the best you can for it. This club was here a long time before we came to it and it will be here a long time after we have all gone.
I don’t think the fans really realise just how close this club came to not being here. It was days away from closing. It wasn’t administration, it would have closed. That stunned me, I didn’t realise how close it was. I knew administration was very close, not the fact that we couldn’t even afford to go into administration. The winding up order surprised and shocked me.
Clearly if we go back to last season, the crime was that the team was good enough to stay up. They needed just that small amount of help that would have seen us through. The strikers were needed the number of games that we murdered people but couldn’t score; now we are saying – if only…’
Now we move forward. Last season was old Bury, now we are into new Bury and we want to move forward. With the optimism of the chairman and the Glenn Thomas (Chief Exec), I think we will do well.
The problem is now we have to do in the next two to three weeks, what is normally done in a three month preparation plan. We could hardly organise a pre-season game. Clubs were asking if we would be around, and they would gladly play us. Up to last week, we couldn’t say we would be around. When you put your pre-season together, you don’t want a hole in there because someone has failed to fulfil their obligation. We couldn’t fill any obligations, not just to other football clubs, but to our own staff here at Gigg Lane. We couldn’t pay wages, we couldn’t do anything.
Even though this is a new regime, that has put us in a really tough position and I had this exact same situation at Leeds United. When they came out of the Premier League, they lost every player apart from Gary Kelly, Lucas Radebe and Seth Johnson. It was just incredible. That season we were the red hot favourites to be relegated, but the year after we got to the play off final in Cardiff.
We now have to make sure that the signings we make are right for this club. I was critical last season of the signings made, players came in that played five or six games and didn’t or couldn’t contribute. We can’t have £300,000 or £400,000 worth of wages not playing if most of them are on the medical bench.
We’ve got to go through a full medical process; we have to go through the scouting process. We are all going to have to hold our nerves a little bit here. If I can’t start the season with a full squad, then over the season – as long as we bring in the right players at the right time and gradually get this club back on its feet. We sit here today with five or six players that can affectively start the first game of the season.
Phil Picken is out for the rest of the season and Shane Byrne still hasn’t come back from the glandular fever. It’s going to be a massive rebuilding job; we are talking about 15 to 17 players.’
We’ll have more from the gaffer online on Wednesday afternoon