The fans got to put their questions to the manager last night. Here is the best of them.
Q – First one to chairman. Prior to the season starting should we have been competing considering our budget given pre season? JP – Our budget was competitive compared to others. We are a top ten team budget wise but we can’t improve on this without fans coming through the gate. MB – we haven’t had the luck so far. Look at the Worthing game. A red card rescinded. This club is built on a group of players with work ethic. The togetherness had gone. We are changing the squad and personnel. The chairman backs me. They need to match my philosophy.
Q – I think we are in a relegation battle. We have a very young side. Will you reconsider your decision to not play? MB – I trust the group but I could possibly come back in. We are changing to a possession based team and we have the team to do that. Would I put my boots back on? Yes. I am trying to focus the team as a whole and when I think it’s right, I will make that call.
Q – Years ago when you first came here, all the players used to come into the clubhouse and mix with the fans, is this something that could happen again? MB – We need to get back to that. Togetherness from the players and the fans. We make all the players now stay till 6. It’s something we want to get back into. The lads need to come in and mingle with the fans, win lose or draw. We want the fans to be in the bar win lose or draw also. We need to United. We can only be better as a whole.
Q – Who would you say was your biggest managerial influence and what was the biggest thing you have taken? MB – Peter Reid for me. I have spoken to him personally he has told me you have to galvanise the club. It takes time. It’s not an overnight thing. The hardest thing for me to get to grips with is trying to get the best of this football club. I work for 7 days to get this right. The chairman has given me the trust to knit this all together. I know all the back room staff.
Q – In light of the financial difficulties, what ambition do you have in the short term and the medium term? MB – I would say the recruitment has been wrong. No disrespect to AH but he has a diff way of doing things to me. We have created 57 chances scoring 4 goals which we can all see is a problem. We can change this if we can change the mindset of the players from front to back. I put lads on the transfer list because I wanted to free up money but also because I want players to work like I want them too. Do we have a shot of the play offs? It could happen. There is always a way. We have our own ambitions. The players I have brought in have been class.
JP – one of the reasons we decided to give Mitch the chance was because of his knowledge and his football network. These players will fit well in the budget as we have made expensive mistakes. I believe he has the capability to turn it around.
Q – is there money in the budget for signings? MB – yes there is. I’m speaking to managers more then my wife at the moment. We are creating a network and making contact with various clubs. I’m in the position where I can decide now who I want. We lost Alfie Pavey but he won’t suit the way we will now be playing. I made a decision to let him go. It was a tough one. He’s one of my mates on and off the pitch but for me to succeed here I need to make ruthless decisions. We let Kandi and Pavey go to bring in Paxman, Ajayi and Boateng.
JP – Talking about budget. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. We need people through the gate to make the budget larger. If we can have 900-1000 a game, that’s an additional £100k a year for the kitty for players. You get your luck by working hard. We are getting the worst decisions I’ve ever seen but we will keep working hard and eventually we will come out good.
MB – what can we do that will galvanise us as a club back together? One of the things that galvanises supporters is having a go at goal. MB – we will find the players and system that will do that. I understand the criticism and I do take it on board. I know we turn down opportunities. It’s about excitement. We need ruthlessness.
Q – You have spoken a lot about players not fitting the system, but who does currently? MB – I can highlight a couple but there’s no point in shooting peoples confidence. There’s a lot of people in that team. You can see a change in that team. Josh Ajayi, once he gets his first goal he then goes bang, bang, bang. He’s committed to the process that we are working with.
Q – I think there are some issues off the pitch regarding other clubs saying it’s unpleasant coming here. We seem to have complaints all the time. Our reputation is not very good at present. MB – we don’t want to call games off. We look at other teams who have played less who have also called them off. Maybe them called them off too early. We try to take it to the wire with every game to make sure we play. We want the games to be Saturdays and not Tuesdays. We want the fans there behind us as we know it’s a little less likely in the week. People blame the chairman but there is a huge sum spent on expenditure on a match day so we want them games to be on. People don’t like us because we are bigger than them. We are a national league team but not in stature. They don’t like it. They all have something against us.
JP – There’s a rumour that we don’t let clubs video here which is true but it’s not through us not wanting too. We only have enough room to video for ourselves but we can send the away team the footage. But they never ask. Some of the stick we get is unjustified. MB – All I want is a team that you can clap at the end of the game who has worked their socks off. Ebbsfleet told us we were the best footballing side they played against. So I know we are going in the right way. Sometimes we will be good, other times not. I want to galvanise the community. I want to go into schools. I know I will make mistakes. I won’t shy away from seeing the fans if we lose. I will take the brunt of it. I will make sure I’m here for you.
Q – Are you going to be playing right back Saturday? MB – No ha ha.
Q – There will be a section from the support who will like the siege mentality but others who don’t. MB – what can I do to change the fans thoughts on that? I will take it on board to make it better. JP – we don’t disrespect any other clubs. We treat them well when they come here but it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon about us due to our standings in non league. MB – in the national league south we are a big team. People don’t like us but can we meet and help each other to make things better? We want to perform on the pitch but off it too. Forget the trolls and negativity. I can’t afford to run the club like the chairman. But I can try and get a football team worthy of playing in front of you. I want you all to come and support the team. Get people back through the gates. I’m as honest as the day is long. I will always answer any questions.
Q – Is there an opportunity in a marketing strategy for the club ? JP – we have done various marketing strategies. Megger have saved our lives with a three year deal. They want to get involved with the community but at the moment DDC have put a block on till we make another meeting with them. MB – we want to bring the club back to the community. Schools, shopping centres, etc. we want to get a 3G pitch sorted but again we need fans through the door to free up finances etc. Money is tight at the moment but we know we can come together. People like you make this club. We need help though. Can we bring a friend? Stay in the bar after the game? We want to create all that.
Q – You make be excited to be a Dover fan at the moment. Can we go any further than the National League? MB – again we need more fans for more budget and more budget is better playing squad. We only get people through the door by winning. We know it’s a two way street. The club can go as far as it wants. We can push on with big gates for sure.
Q – What can we say to you regarding making a difference. Can we get a discount for multiple home games in a month? MB – we can certainly have a look. Me and the chairman talk privately about things like this all the time for the greater good. There is never a stupid question. We will always look at the best possible situation for the football club. We want to benefit the club and yourself. We want you all in here to have the best time.
Q – Can we change the fortunes in the cups next season? MB – I’d love to reach the quarters, semi or final. But seriously we would love to have the Crystal Palace’s again but we look to prioritise this Saturday.
Q – Did releasing Alfie Pavey seem a gamble? MB – of course it is. Every transfer is a gamble. Bringing players in is a gamble. Me being honest as a manager, Pavey has not quite hit the heights from open play. It’s up to me to recruit.
Q – The charity match against the legends went down well, will we see a repeat? MB – I’m only focusing on the games that matter to me. JP – When we get some more legends we will make it happen.
Q – The Copa 90 documentary has come out today. What was you hoping to get out of it? JP – it was brought about regarding covid fiasco but Sky were going to get it but it got blackballed and Copa took it on. I haven’t seen it yet.
Q – Are you putting money in or have you had enough? JP – when I come here we were hundreds of thousands in debt. We have punched above our weight consistently. We have had cup runs etc but I’ve always put money in. I’m retired now. My resources are now becoming limited. But it can’t go on forever. We can only do so much. It goes back to crowds again. We didn’t play at home for nearly 2 months. We have to pay the bills still. We won’t see the club go to debt. MB – the chairman is doing the best for the club. It’s not all about signing strikers. It’s about balancing the books and the club as a business. We need to keep things in perspective. We got through covid. And we are still debt free. Fair play to the chairman.
MB – You did a fantastic job chairman, can we give him a round of applause (applause from the audience).
Q – With penalties, do we have a nominated penalty taker? MB – I have in my head. I didn’t want to take one at Uxbridge due to not being warm so I didn’t want to be in that position. I’ve got my own designated taker. I’ll keep that close to my chest for now as I don’t want to put him under pressure.
Q – Will we go back to daytime training? MB – can we get lads in who can train in the day? Some are part time etc who work in the day. We can’t always give them the financial benefit that we used to be able too.
JP – Thanks for coming. Hopefully it’s answered all your questions. I’m always about on match days if you want to come and chat with me. Don’t Listen to all the stuff that’s written about us. We want you to support us and not jump on what other teams write. Thanks for your time.