In many ways the hard work starts now doesn’t it?
“Yes it’s still a busy time because players are coming and going, but decisions have to be made and we have been very busy on that front this week.”
A number of the players have said the preparation started a few players released from their current contracts this week, how difficult was that for you?
“Well, the problem is they’re financial decisions, in that obviously everybody’s budget will be cut because of the 60% now, it’s gone from 65 to 60, two years ago it was 80% so you’ve got to look at that and cut your cloth accordingly. We have released them from their current contracts, negotiations may continue with one or two of those parties.”
Do you think that’s going to be something we see across the footballing world, do you think it’s going to be different this summer with the 60%?
“I think globally it’s getting more difficult and more players will be out of contract, and clubs will not be in a position to pay the wages that some of the players are demanding because they’re simply not there and whether they wanted to sign a player or not they won’t be in a position to do so because they simply can’t afford to.”
Do you think as well then does that have an impact on how early you get your business done? Is it important to get your business done early? Or do you think if you hold on there might be some bargains to be had?
“Well we are trying to talk to, as you know, we have signed Scotty Cuthbert, which is a great signing for us for the next two seasons because he’s a good player and we are delighted that that has been done. There will be one or two key signings that we are trying to get over the line, and we’ve made offers to David Mooney and Romain Vincelot so there’s that side of it. Obviously I think it’s going to be a long close season in terms of speaking to players and looking at the finances and seeing how far we can go. The good thing from our point of view is the nucleus certainly defensively, is still together, and that’s very, very important, that gives us something to build on.”
That must be a big thing for you especially if you compare it to this time last year with all the different left-backs and goal keepers, to have that foundation in place there must be massive?
“Yeah totally because we used seven or eight goalkeepers in the previous season, I think we went through nine left-backs, and we’ve not got that problem now we know we’ve settled at the back. At the start of last season because we brought in new players, we were still searching for where they could be most effective, with Lloyd James he did a little bit of right back for example, Mathieu Baudry did a little bit in midfield which he can do, but his best position has obviously been at the back, he’s been a tremendous asset to us. So, you know, finding out things like that and when you’ve got a small squad sometimes, you’ve got to manipulate it a little bit and people have to play out of positions.”
As you mentioned Mooney and Vincelot are both in negotiations how hopeful are you of something happening now?
“Obviously very hopeful again there’s a limit and a line to which we can go to and players have to make these decisions because those offers can’t stay on the table forever and a day, we need to move on if they’re not going to sign then we have to move on and replace them.”