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Monday, May 09, 2016

From The Archives - Turner Looks Forward To 2004/05 Season

Yesterday BN posted a look back at Hereford United's 2003/04 season with Graham Turner.

Today Turner looks forward to 2004/05. The article was originally published on the OS.

Hereford United boss Graham Turner looks ahead to next season and discusses the plans he has in place and what his aims are for this close season period. He talks about the make-up of his squad as a whole but first of all talks about those players who have already committed themselves to Edgar Street for another season.

“After the disappointment of missing out on promotion to the Football League there was always the danger that we may lose a few players because they have been very impressive. I think that losing Michael Rose was inevitable really because there has been interest for a long time, but to lose Steve Guinan was a little bit more disappointing. However, when I spoke to him he explained that there was interest from Football League clubs and therefore it was very difficult for us to compete with them for his signature.

“Steve did do very well for us during his time here and got a good tally of goals in the season just gone, but you have to say that we did lay on a lot of chances for him. Yes he did well for us and will be a loss, but if we can create the same amount of chances again next time round, someone else will have a great opportunity to score as many goals as he did. He came in to see me and made it clear that he had set his sights on a return to the League so good luck to him. He's fixed up now with a decent deal and now we all have to move on.

“Apart from the two players that we have already lost, things have gone fairly well in that at the moment only David Brown (NB: He now has!), Simon Travis, Matt Baker and Ben Smith are yet to sign. Rob Purdie and Danny Carey-Bertram committed themselves to us fairly quickly which was very pleasing as Rob has been a revelation during the second half of the season especially, while Danny also began to show us glimpses of what he is capable of when he got his chance late on in the season.

“Tom Smith then agreed to sign and that was pleasing as he came here on a deal until the end of the season and did more than enough to prove he was worth a longer contract. Thankfully he has agreed terms to stay with us next season and that's pleasing because we gave him a chance to prove himself and it has worked out for both him and us.

“Apart from these three players, another really important signing was the fact that Andy Tretton has decided to stay. There was quite rightly a real worry that he would leave us but I think it has given us all a huge lift that he has signed a new deal. His importance was demonstrated by the run we went on after his return from injury and though it wasn't just down to him, his experience did prove very influential. Him deciding to stay is a real compliment to this club and the way we performed last season, and it's also great credit to Andy that he'll be here giving it a real go with us when the season kicks off in August.

“Of the four remaining players, David Brown has agreed to sign whilst Simon Travis is coming back to us with an answer fairly soon. I'm hopeful about Simon, we just need to work out a deal that we're all happy with. I think he's enjoyed it since he's been here and he showed in the play-off matches what he is capable of, and his versatility makes him a real asset.

“The futures of Ben and Matt are a little bit more up in the air though, as they are still weighing up their options. In an ideal world I'd like them both to stay but if there is interest out there they are well within their rights to have a look around. I don't think either of them is unhappy here and it's an enjoyable place to be, but they have to think about what they feel is right for themselves and their careers.

“Hopefully we'll have more good news soon but we'll have to wait and see – it's out of our hands now.”

Having discussed specific players, the Bulls boss then moved on to explain what his aims are as he looks to improve his squad for an even more concerted promotion push next season.

“We had a great season last year but now need to try and build on that by keeping our momentum going. We've lost a couple of players obviously, but from what I've seen of the retained lists that have come in so far, I'm very confident that we'll be able to replace them with other players who have at least the same amount of ability. In fact I'm very excited by the lists of released players I've seen and at this point many clubs have still not made decisions about who they are going to let go.

“When we eventually find out who's staying and who's going for definite, it'll be fairly obvious which positions we'll then need to strengthen in. I have certain targets in my mind and players I'm waiting to hear news on, but I will also keep an open mind so that if we see someone we want to move for straight away, we are able to go ahead and do that.

“We will be extremely patient if we need to be though, as there are going to be a lot of players looking for clubs and many of them will be taking their time and weighing up their options too. We were patient last summer and that paid off for us but we were in the position to move quickly if we needed too in the situation where a special opportunity came up. Ryan Green was one such case last season and I think everyone will agree how lucky we've been to have had him over the course of his first season at the club.”

So financially how is he planning for the season ahead and is he in a stronger position than he was this time last year?

“Certainly the season we have just had in terms of achievement and increased attendances puts us in a much better position than we were this time last year. We have more money to play with budget wise and also a much higher profile and an enhanced reputation. In the last few weeks we've been in the news a lot when people have been discussing the play-offs and they have used us as an example of how unfair they can appear at times.

“I'm not really into that, because we knew the rules before the season kicked off and therefore they are set in stone. The defeat hurt us undoubtedly but it was the referee our gripe was with, not Aldershot or the play-off system itself; we have attached no blame to either of the other two factors.

“However, to hear people like Trevor Brooking, Joe Royle and a variety football pundits saying how unfortunate we are not to have been promoted, has been good in the fact that it has increased our profile nationally and also people's perceptions of this club as a whole. That will hopefully help us when we are negotiating to bring new players in.

“What will also help us is that I have a bigger budget to play with this season and with this in mind we are going to try and come out of the CVA. We have made a new offer to clear this debt and are hopeful that we will be able to have this lifted. The initial signs are good, so fingers crossed that this comes off as it will be an enormous step forward for the club as a whole.

“Playing wise, as I said, we have a bigger budget this season but I have to say that we have had to go into this a bit already when we made new offers to our out of contract players. That's only fair as they have done well for us, but it does demonstrate that it's not quite as simple as us being able to go out and spend extra money to bring people in. We still have tights reins to work under and though we are able to offer better terms this year, we are still a long way short of what some clubs are able to offer.

“Having said that, I am very optimistic that we will be able to add even more quality to our squad and I think that young players can now see that if they come here they will be able to develop and will be encouraged to play in a certain way. The Paul Parry example is good for us as he served his time here and then we allowed him to move on in the way that several other players have done too.

“That shows that we can develop and improve players and anyone thinking of coming here can see that if they come here and perform, there is the chance to better themselves. We will not stand in their way if an offer that we're happy with comes in and though it's not always ideal, if a player comes here and hopes to use us as a stepping stone back into the Football League, then it can work out well for both parties.

“If the player performs well for us we benefit and may find ourselves back in the Football League which is what we all want, but if that doesn't happen, by doing well here interest will come in from other clubs. In the main our reputation and ability to re-launch players careers works out well for us and that is why we took the decision to go down the road of focussing on mainly young players who feel they have something to prove.

“All in all I am very optimistic about this close season in terms of who we will be able to bring in. Season tickets sales have started well and I think last year has really re-ignited interest in this football club locally. The signs are good that we can have a memorable season again next year; let's just hope it has a happier ending.

“If we can match last season in terms of effort, ability and commitment on the field, and add a little more luck, hopefully we can go just that one step further than what happened to us against Aldershot, and finally take this club and it's supporters back to where we belong to be.”