Five minute Friday this week could well be called 50 minute Friday. We went to visit Stockport County boss Alan Lord in his office at Edgeley Park and his love and enthusiasm for the game takes over. When he starts to talk about the game we all love, you can see in his eyes, the passion, commitment and desire he has for the game. We talked about tonight’s game with local rivals Altrincham, targets for next season, the run of games without a goal and the proposed new development squad.
This Good Friday in front of an expected seasons best attendance, Friday night football returns to Edgeley Park for a local derby between Stockport and Altrincham. Alan was Ian Bogie’s number 2 when the two teams met earlier in the season and as we were talking, Alan recall’s how flat Stockport were that day and the supporters had every right to give them some grief. ‘We just didn’t turn up, the performance was flat‘ Walshaw and Reeves bagged the 3 goals between them that condemned County to a 3-0 defeat. ‘In them two they have one of the best strike forces in the league’ said Lord, but he also believes he’s seen enough of Altrincham in recent weeks to get something out of the game. Despite a run of 12 games without a win and 5 games without a goal there’s still positives to be taken. Clean sheets against Brackley, Worcester and North Ferriby proves the defence is more than capable, he just thinks his strike force is lacking that cutting edge and are low on confidence. Hopefully a few changes he has up his sleeve for tonight can change this around.
Planning for next season, Alan has been spotted out and about in recent weeks as he looks to recruit for the next campaign. He told us there’s a few deals ready to be done and he wants to get his business done early in the summer, he’s got players lined up with a physical presence, power, pace and a real cutting edge, something he thinks they’ve lacked slightly this season, ‘If these deals come off people’s heads will turn, these are players with real experience in this league, players who have won this league so they know what’s required’.
Moving on to the proposed new development squad Alan tells us he’s had a bit of criticism regarding this. He thinks it may come to the fact people think it’s going to cost money and perhaps take some of the first team playing budget away. He reassure’s us that’s not the case, and that the work gone on behind the scenes in some areas free’s up a better budget for next season. ‘When i took over it was no secret that the budget was spent, I’ve worked hard freeing some up and balancing the playing staff. With investment in the right areas pound notes become available next season to enable me to bring in the right players. To back these players up we need this development squad to further the progress of the club. At the moment we have 19 players, if one or two get injured, and a few have work commitments etc, we really are down to bare bones. Also if we get a player recommended to us we can get a proper look at him in a game scenario, rather than an hour in training twice a week’. Listening to Alan he’s really committed to getting this up and running, and say’s it will only benefit Stockport County as a football club. It will have no affect on his position as manager and will help develop players for the club.
Finally we ask Alan his highlights of the season, it’s been a tough one with plenty of up’s and down’s but personally i think he’s steadied an unstable ship and this can only help the hatters as they make a push for promotion next season. Alan tells us the run of results where they lost 1 in 10 proves they are going the right way. If they can get a few runs like that together next season there’s every chance of success.
But importantly he wants to give the fans a good finish to this season for all their loyal support and backing this term. With a seasons high attendance expected at Edgeley Park tonight, along with around 700 tickets already sold for Colwyn Bay on Easter Monday he wants to give them something to cheer about. ‘It’s a testament to the fans, that despite the indifferent season they continue to support us the way they do’. I just hope we can give them something to cheer about going into the summer break.
Like i said earlier this could very well have been called 50 minute Friday, after the tape had stopped recording we sat and chatted for another 30 minutes or so. I asked him if he was looking forward to the end of season and he replied he couldn’t wait for next season to start. He wants to get his transfer business wrapped up early, plan his pre-season, a quick holiday to keep the Mrs happy, then back to business to get the team ready. After spending time in his company today, all i can say to you County fans is, next season should be a good one…….and don’t you just deserve it.
A link to a match report from last nights game: https://nonleaguereview.co.uk/2014/04/19/stockport-v-altrincham-report/