Saturday, 3 August 2013

Mully talked and we listened. The Q&A night in full

TOWN manager Peter Mulcaster hosted a Q&A session at the clubhouse on Friday evening and for those unable to attend, this is what happened.

Commercial Director Dave Watson opened proceedings by saying how disappointing the turn out was before Mulcaster introduced himself and spoke a little about his past.

He said that he has had 37 seasons as a manager, 32 of which have been in the Northern League, and that this is his third spell at Northallerton.

He had initially decided to retire from football management last season but when he got the call from the club in March, he was delighted to come back and help out, initially until the end of the season.

However, following a good run of results that saw Town reach the final of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy for a second year in a row, Mulcaster was offered the job permanently. He spoke of his affection for the club and commented on how professionally run it is.

The first question from the floor was about the current squad and Mulcaster proceeded speak about the players.

He highlighted the arrival of Jamie Clarke as a great move for the club, but when it was put to him that Clarke could leave if a club from Division One came in and offered him more money, Mulcaster counted by saying that the same applied to all the players.

"Clarke is happy to be here," said the Town boss. "He has come not just as a player but to help the younger lads develop and I believe he is committed to the cause."

Mulcaster then spoke of the disappointment at not being able to re-sign Adam Emson. He said he had tried calling him several times over the summer but that last seasons 38-goal leading scorer had refused to return his calls.

"It was a big problem for me," said Mulcaster. "I knew I needed someone to replace his goals and when I knew I get Clarke, I jumped at the opportunity."

Next, he spoke of young striker Graham Caygill. "He is not the finished article yet by any means, but he is a great lad with a terrific attitude and he will be one hell of a player. We had him in for specialist training during the week and he really got a lot out of it. We all have high hopes for him."

Mulcaster said that there were two players he really wanted to sign this summer and was delighted to have been able to get them both. The first was Darlington RA captain Dale Elgie, who Mulcaster described as a fabulous footballer, while the second was Darren Kokes, who played for Esh Winning last season. "He is a great player and a natural goalscorer." said Mulcaster.

Of the other new signings, Mulcaster said that Danny McLachlan had approached the club after Darlington Cleveland Bridge folded and had impressed in pre-season, while defender Sean Davies, who has signed from Crook, played in the Football League and the Conference with Scarborough.

The subject of local players and the relationship with Academy was inevitably brought up and Mulcaster was quick to point out how closely he has been working with David Goodwin and Keith Caygill.

He listed the Academy lads who are already in the squad and that he will continue to liase with Goodwin and Caygill to find the best local talent.

"If Dave or Keith think a player is worth looking at, I will have a look at them," he said. "But the final decision will always be mine. We all have opinions on players but it is not just about ability. They have to be committed and have the right attitude."

Mulcaster also named several local players who had refused to come to pre-season training and had decided that they do not want to play for Town.

"I can only pick players who want to play for the club. I asked several along to pre-season training and not one turned up. You cannot force them to play."

It was put to him that perhaps it may be worth looking at players from the local Sunday Leagues and from further South. Mulcaster said that he had very few contacts south of Northallerton but it was something he would look into going forward.

Mulcaster then said that one of the reasons he had chosen Steve Cooke to be his assistant was because he is in touch with local people and has a great knowledge of the Academy players.

Next up, Mulcaster was asked what his hopes are for the new season.

"Firstly to enjoy it," he said. "We want to win games, of course, and the more games you win the more you enjoy it. But I want people to enjoy watching us play.

"My aim is to finish higher than the 6th place we managed last year. I feel the squad is stronger this season and we have a greater work ethic, especially in forward areas.

"Last year I wanted us to defend from the front and stop the opposition settling on the ball, but we could not get enough work out of the strikers. It is different this season. You saw that at Bishop on Monday and you will see it throughout the season.

"Whatever happens though I can guarantee that we will lose a couple of games 5-0. It always happens. Everyone has an off-day and even the team that wins the league will suffer these sort of results. The important thing is to keep some perspective."

Mulcaster then spoke of the difficulty in keeping all the players happy.

"I can only pick 11 players at a time so the other 5 will always be disappointed. I think I am a good man-manager and it is important to speak to the players. It is not just about the lads on the pitch but dealing with the ones who are not playing every week. That is a big part of the job."

Next on the agenda was the selection of a club captain, and Mulcaster confirmed that Gav Parkin had been appointed.

"This is simply because we are unsure of the situation regarding Danny (Shoulder)," said the Town manager." He has been away with cricket and is struggling with injury so Gav was the natural choice."

The next issue was over the goalkeeping situation.

"I am looking at a couple of goalkeepers as cover," Mulcaster said." I believe Dean Hudson has been outstanding so far but of course we need more than one goalkeeper.

"Dean has been working with Michael Corps and is improving all the time. He needs to be more vocal out on the pitch but I have no problem with sticking him in the team."

The final question was about players attending club functions and interacting more with the fans. Mulcaster said he was keen to encourage the players to do this and felt it was important that everyone was pulling together.

That concluded the evenings events, although Mulcaster did promise another Q&A session at some point before Christmas where it is hoped more fans will attend.

Everyone at the club would like to thank Mulcaster for his honesty and openness. The over-riding impression of the evening was that he loves the club and is working very hard to achieve success. I am sure we all hope he can achieve it.

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