Yeovil Town first team manager Darren Sarll spoke to Yeovil Town Press Officer Alex O'Loughlin on Tuesday 19th June 2019 in his opening interview after being appointed as manager.
Qu: Darren, first things first, welcome to Yeovil Town Football Club. But for you how nice is it to get this done and officially be manager?0
DS: It's very nice to be appointed. I'm very grateful to the board and the potential new board. It's been a long time coming and it's been a very thorough process for myself, and a thorough process acted out by the club. It's an exciting day. I always thought this was a really smashing club and a really big club. I'm very proud and honoured to be chosen in leading it on its next journey.
Qu: It's something of a new era potentially. You mention that you've met the current board and the potential new board. How challenging has it been dealing with a club that is in a transition phase?
DS: I don't think it's been too difficult. All I can ever be is myself. All I can ever be is honest and upfront and work with integrity. So I don't think that was ever a problem. I think obviously with the timing, we're quite late in the day, with how long, how thorough and how detailed the process was from a candidate and applicant's point of view of trying to get the manager's position, that was more of the challenge and more of the test. But obviously I'm really pleased to be here, and Monday can't come quick enough.
Qu: It's almost a month and a half since the season has ended and since then fans have been waiting for news. For them it seems too close to the start of the season. But from someone who has been there and done that kind of a pre-season plan, how much of a problem is it really, coming into the season?
DS: Obviously you do a lot of your recruitment in this time and you do a lot of your due diligence, in terms of the people you want to bring to your football club and the reason for why they can come and how they can get here. Obviously we're going to have to fasttrack that and we're going to have to make some big decisions and key decisions - not quickly and not naively but correctly. We still need to do that. I still think there will be a process and a period of time before we can start unveiling new players and making good decisions. Building football clubs is fairly simple in the bare nuts and bolts of it in that you've got to make really good decisions around players and people. If you make more good decisions than bad, then you usually end up with a successful team. Unfortunately if we make poor decisions, then being honest we end up with a bad team representing what is a smashing football club; a really nice football club.
Qu: You haven't really inherited much of a squad. You've got a bit of a blank canvas at the moment.
DS: Yes, there's room. We've got to work within a tight financial constraint. I'm well aware of that. That will never be used as an excuse. We need players who are ready to come here and play. This league is a completely different challenge. If you think it's going to be the Football League, it's not. It's going to be different. It's very very demanding; it's very intense. But it's also got that real wholesome integrity to it. There's a real sort of readiness for players to work hard to get back into the Football League or to ger into the Football League and to improve their own lives and to improve their own club's destiny. So this next year will really sort the men out from the boys. The players have to understand and the supporters have to understand that now. I've really got no other gear in me other than to head straight on and to go at everything with the most amount of intensity that I can. I've always been renowned for creating an elite player environment and I expect to do the same at Yeovil.
Qu: Is it too early to know the kind of identity you want your team to have? I know youth development has played a big part in your career up until this point. Is that something that you'll look to go down? You mention the National League isn't an easy division and it does separate the men from the boys.
DS: It's very clear what the remaining group needs. We do need a massive mentality shift here. We don't just need a mentality shift in the changing room, we need a mentality shift in the Boardroom and we need a mentality shift in the Stands. There's only one way to get out of this situation and that is to fight. It's to roll our sleeves up together ideally, and fight for dear life and carry on fighting until we get this football club where we'd like it to be. We'd all love it to be back in the Football League, but all need to understand the nature of what we are and what I am, and what the potential new owners are inheriting. We're inheriting a team that has lost largely over the last two or three years. To swing that mentality around into a winning mentality is going to need a real dose and injection of personality, courage and determination. We're going to need some really strong leaders and characters that have been scarred almost from football and seen what this league is about. We have to start doing that now and it's important that we tried to get everything done today in terms of my situation. Now we've done that, tomorrow morning we can attack things head on.
Qu: Essentially what you're asking from the fans is to not feel sorry for ourselves. Obviously last season happened and we're relegated now. You're the first part of a new era here, and you really want people to unite behind what you're trying to do.
DS: It's the same with any player situation. When a players are feeling down or lack direction or motivation, no good comes from moping or having a bad attitude. There's no good that comes from it - it never does. The only way we can deliver some good here, is that we can deliver some positivity and we can deliver some wins. It would be nice to have a winning season. That's if we pull ourselves up and we go. You know what that's like and it's a real team effort. It doesn't just end with the manager. It doesn't just end with the players. It's all of us. It's the Boardroom, all the way down to the tea ladies, laundry ladies, groundsmen, everyone. Everyone has to make sure that we understand the situation that we're in and we're in it. So let's accept it. Secondly, let's fight for dear life to get ourselves out of it. The quicker we accept the current situation, the quicker we can accept where we are, the quicker we can get back up, and our head up and be proud of our football club, then the quicker we'll be back in the EFL.
Qu: The players will be watching this, as much as the supporters are. I know they're coming in on Monday. What can they expect from you as a manager?
DS: I'm a really honest person and there's no grey area with me. It's very clear what I expect. If you had any endorsements from previous players that I've worked with, they'd be positive endorsements, I'm sure of that - and the people that I've worked with over my eighteen years. They're going to have to work really hard. It's the same that if any of them are feeling in a position where they're saying I'm not a National League player, then they need to shake themselves out of this delusional state right now. This is where we are, this is what we've got to do and this is what we've got to achieve, so that we can call ourselves Football League managers, coaches, players, physios, recruitment team, press officers. That's what we've got to do. It's so important we come with that sort of outlook of life. Again, there's only one way we can remedy this situation, and that's by really going at it as hard and long as we can, in terms of fighting for this football club.
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