Ciderspace's George Murray talked to Yeovil Town director Stephen Allinson on June 7th 2006 - the day that Russell Slade was appointed as Yeovil Town manager. Stephen answered the following questions:
GM: Stephen do you think you have got the best of both worlds with Steve Thompson as assistant manager and Russell Slade as manager?
SA: Yes, I am convinced they are. I am delighted that Steve is staying on. We've always felt that Steve's abilities were best suited to coaching and I am delighted that he is going to continue that role. But we feel it is time for a new start. We are very delighted that Russell has joined us. He was always our number one pick. We had some really good applicants and you might well imagine. There were a number of names that were trailed in the press along with a number of names that hadn't been. But he was always our number one pick. I think the fact that he was only out of contract on the 31st of May and it is now the 7th of June and we have appointed him, shows that we wanted him and he wanted us and that is great.
GM: Were you a bit worried about the time it took in appointing Steve Thompson's successor?
SA: I think the fans got themselves worked up about it really, didn't they? It's interesting because Russell was two minutes away from automatic promotion with Grimsby, when a goal went in on the last day of the season. If he had done that then it may well have been that we could have approached Grimsby a little bit earlier. But as he was under contract until the 31st of May and in the playoffs, we do things properly and that is why we had to have that little hiatus from the fans point of view. But we haven't been idle behind the scenes. There has been a lot of beavering away with players etc.
GM: Was it a unanimous board decision?
SA: Absolutely. Absolutely unanimous.
GM: And what about the three year - it's a long time isn't it?
SA: Yes, it is a long time. Initially we thought of a two year contract. But Russell came to us and said I want three years because I want to show you how committed I am. I want a three year plan, and actually that makes a lot of sense, so we had no problem in agreeing that.
GM: Kevin Hodges - I've read somewhere he is staying and I've read somewhere he is going
SA: Well he is away on holiday at the moment so we can't finalise that. So I think when John Fry gets back from the Chairmen's Conference he will deal with that. If there isn't a place for Kevin then obviously his contract allows notice to be given and we will have to deal with that. Obviously he is not the assistant manager anymore because Steve Thompson is doing that job.
GM: Will Russell bring in backroom staff such as a physio or a coach?
SA: Obviously working with Steve as a number two is the most important thing. For the physio, we were told two weeks ago that Glen Schmidt was leaving, so we always knew that we would have to apply for a physio and we are advertising for that. Whether Russell's physio from Grimsby wants to come here, I don't know, but he is a northern lad so I doubt it. So there will be a new physio. We have enhanced the scouting structure which I think the fans will be excited by and I think within the next week you will see some clear benefits from that. He is someone who has worked very well with Russell in the past. He is a man called John Milton, who is well known in football circles. He is beavering away on a lot of the development football and doing a lot of the running for Russell. He has been able to do that over the last few days as well.
GM: Were those two Youth players (Darren Behcet and Stephen Maher) anything to do with him?
SA: Yes it was.
GM: John Fry talked about a possible investment that would become clear and that maybe it would be known today?
SA: No, today is Russell's day and we don't want to take anything away from that. But I think in the next month we will be outlining how we are going to produce our plans for development and investment and how we can take our off the field plan to the next stage.
GM: And what's Russell Slade's best quality?
SA: I think he has got a number of qualities. I like his passion and his openness. I don't know if some fans remember but Grimsby got a bit of a pasting in the first half at Lincoln a few weeks ago and he brought them onto the pitch and said to them you're not good enough to sit in that dressing room - I'll give you my team talk in the middle of the pitch. I like that in a manager, and I think the fans want to see it. You'll see him bouncing around and that's good. But he is also a very open man. He is very happy with the media and I think you guys will like him and he wants to do all the fans forums and do talks there. But also he builds from below and that is what we are looking for.
GM: And how much budget will he be given this summer? Have you sorted that out?
SA: Yes, we've sorted that out confidentially. I'm sure you don't expect me to tell you the figures, but we have sorted that out and he is very comfortable with it.
GM: And bringing in a number of free signings - would that still be the plan?
SA: Absolutely. We don't want to give you all the good news on the same day but within the next week or two there could be a couple of nice announcements.
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