A summary of Barnsley’s new head coach Michael Duff’s first press conference at Oakwell yesterday in which he discussed his career and his plans for the Reds
“The next move was always big.
“I needed to make sure it was the right one not just professionally but personally as well.
“I did speak to two or three other clubs.
“It came down to the project to be built here.
“It is very similar to Burnley where I spent 15 years, in terms of the size, the fanbase and the people. It excited me so that’s why I made this decision.
“27 years at two football clubs doesn’t happen very often. It shows the next club had to be what I think and hope will be the right move.
“I had other sniffs, not just this summer but before, but I had to make sure this is the right one.
“I was blessed and lucky to be at two clubs but ultimately successful, which is why I was there so long.”
WHAT HIS JOURNEY FROM THE 8TH TIER TO TOP FLIGHT TAUGHT HIM
“I have seen every type of ego and every type of ability. I wasn’t a particularly good player but I had a good mentality and that’s why I climbed the leagues.
“I was prepared to work hard and get every ounce out of my ability. That’s what I want to do with players now. It doesn’t always work.
“Hopefully I can show that, if you do apply yourself right, you can get to those levels.
“But don’t expect to just be given it.
“You have to work hard. The players will soon get bored of me saying I am a firm believer that hard work pays you back. It might not come straight away but long-term if you work hard enough you will earn your rewards.”
HIS IMPRESSIONS OF BARNSLEY AS AN OPPONENT
“It was always a difficult place to come. I don’t think anyone enjoyed coming to Barnsley, particular on a Tuesday night. You never thought you would have an easy night. The weather was usually pretty poor. But I was coming from Burnley so it was poor to poor. The feel and fabric is very similar to Burnley and you have seen what they have achieved, getting to the Premier League.”
WHAT FUNDAMENTALS WILL HE INSIST ON
“No egos. Don’t make it about yourself.
“I will do everything I can for every single player, but it has to be a team effort because if the team wins, the town wins and the players win.
“They will get recognised for it, but it has to be a group mentality.
“Hopefully I can bring fresh ideas that players will buy into.
“I can’t guarantee it. I know what it takes as a player. I had six promotions as a player, that’s irrelevant to my coaching but I know what it takes in the dressing room. We had the same feeling in my previous club.”
EXPECTATIONS FOR NEXT SEASON
“I am a believer in processes. Results take care of themselves. If you just focus on results, or look too far to the future, you trip over.
“Results are a by-product of environment, coaching and culture. I am not obsessed with results because I believe that, if I can do the things I want to do, they will come. Sometimes when teams get relegated it’s ‘oh we will get promoted’.
“If supporters think we can just rock up, put 11 players on the pitch and we’ll win, that won’t happen. I understand there will be an expectation from the football club and I am fully aware of that.
“But my job is to take care of the day to day running. I won a championship two years ago (the League Two title with Cheltenham) and not once did I say we’d win the league.”
THE CHALLENGE OF LEAGUE ONE
“There are some big clubs in League One.
“Ipswich’s budget last season was probably two or three times what ours will be this season and they didn’t make the play-offs.
“There were big ex-Premier League teams like Portsmouth and Charlton in mid-table.
“There are two leagues within League One.
“Some teams stayed up with 40 points, which is unheard of, because it was so hard for teams at the bottom to beat teams at the top.”
GETTING A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT
“I have been in football long enough to know that it is a results game.
“You have to win. But it (the length of the deal) shows a bit of faith, hopefully.
“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get started.
“Everyone has welcomed me. I am desperate for Monday to come around so I can meet all the players, and I can start getting my hands dirty.
“I have been here all week meeting people but my job isn’t to sit in a suit.
“It’s to get on the grass and work.”
BARNSLEY’S RECORD OF REGULARLY SACKING MANAGERS
“If I don’t win enough, I will get sacked.
“It doesn’t scare me, it’s just reality.
“The other side is if you can get it going there is a lot of potential here.
“I think I am the fifth manager in 15 months if you include Davvers (Martin Devaney).
“Not all for bad reasons – one (Valerien Ismael) left because of success. I want to build something.
“Hopefully I am around to do it, if I am not then good luck to the next person because it’s a great club.”
ON LEAVING CHELTENHAM
“It was difficult like it was difficult to leave Burnley after 15 years.
“When I went back, we were in a mess but I wanted to move my family back home – my in-laws, my family and my immediate family.
“Now they are settled there, I can focus on my career. Cheltenham will be my home forever.
“If I get sacked tomorrow, I will move back there. If I retire when I am 60, I will be in Cheltenham.
“I didn’t want to outstay my welcome there.
“We’ve taken them from near the bottom in League Two to comfortably mid-table in League One – the highest ever place.
“Whether people think this is the right or wrong decision, they can’t question the success we have had. I am comfortable with that.
“The family won’t move up, they will come and visit now and then.”
HIS STYLE OF PLAY
“We have used a back three.
“Sometimes it is a 3-4-3 but generally a 3-5-2 because I like two centre forwards on the pitch.
“The best way to describe it is ‘mixed football’.
“I try not to pigeon hole myself. We mix it up.
“We will play out from the back but we will go in behind as well.
“I understand what the supporters want. Burnley fans were the same when we had a manager who had 75 passes before we crossed the halfway line.
“I understand the supporters won’t want that but it won’t be just route one.
“There will be a big focus on set pieces as well.
“We will have an underdog mentality, that’s the spirit of the town. Everyone has had to fight and scrap for everything. We need to get the team to replicate that spirit and not automatically think they will get promoted.”
“I played against Bobby (Hassell, academy manager) for years and I have a relationship with him.
“We want to produce local players because supporters always cheer that little bit harder for the local lad. I haven’t trawled through the academy players but I spent an hour with Bobby this week. I will take an active interest in the academy because I think it’s part of the job.”
“I am very very superstitious so you will see me doing weird twitches and steps on the sidelines.
“I am only superstitious if we are successful, like my lucky gilet at Cheltenham, so hopefully this time next year I will have some random quirky thing.
“I am just weird, basically.”