Backroom staff are an integral part of every day life at Concord Rangers, this week we caught up with Head of Recruitment Adam Drew to find out more about his role at the club, and how much planning goes into a season at National League South Level…
With Concord having one of the smaller budgets in this league, how vital is it to un-earth gems from the lower leagues?
As people are well aware, we don’t have the budgets of others but its what we are given so that’s up to us to use the money wisely. Obviously, we all want to shop in the national league / league but we are different, we have to unearth these gems from the lower league but it’s something we thrive on. But I actually think that helps us in a way as I believe you will be signing players that are hungry to play the level, who want to move up the football ladder and try to be successful. I believe that all of those boys have bought into the CONCORD way. The lower leagues haven’t helped with the wages being paid out, but probably makes our decisions easier when signing a player as although we wont give them the money lower league sides would, we can give them a good opportunity to play a very good level. For me being involved with football is to test yourself at the highest level, play in big games and see where it takes you. I have never understood the boys that are happy in the lower levels picking up £50 -£100 a week more as that money wont be there forever and when the time comes when you leave the game you wont even remember that money you earned.
Is it easy to identify players that can buy into the Concord Rangers spirit?
With our group there are no high earners, no egos and I think that reflects our team mentality this year with the togetherness in the group. What we thought was important this season was to put together a competitive group of 16-18 together not just an 11 and now everybody is buying into the TEAM mentality willing each other on all knowing they will get their opportunity and backing each other. Prime example of that was Tuesday night against Chelmsford where we made 6 changes to the starting x1 from the weekend and the team still looked strong so that was very pleasing (we also won of course) and I think that’s helped us during the busy periods having that squad to choose from.
Can you always be guaranteed that these lower league players can play at this level?
Trying to unearth them isn’t easy as you never know how they will take to the level but I was confident pre season that the players coming in from below levels would be good enough. I think we have been proved right and when you look at the current squad, we still have 12 players from the opening day of the season so also shows that we will stick by them when performing.
What is the process when yourself or Danny identify a potential new signing? Do you and Danny discuss where the player is likely to fit in? What can he bring to the club? Is he in our budget?
Yes spot on. To be honest I probably do his head in with regards players as I never stop throwing names at him. I am constantly in talks with clubs, players, agents as we are always trying to think one step ahead, making sure that if anything happens we have targets and players to fill those gaps if we need to. Obviously making sure they fit our model in terms of personality, budget is vital. What we have done well with this season is use the loan market well. They have all come in and been superb, you can see how much it means to them when we win and lose which is great and the feedback we have had back from both players and clubs is really pleasing. Its been great to see the likes of Tom Clifford make his debut for Southend, Henry Woods making the 1st team squad for Gills, which is great for them but also a good advert for the club and shows we can give these boys a chance.
How much preparation is taking place for next season already? Have we identified potential targets? Are you always preparing for next season? Does it ever stop!
Well firstly it never stops. It takes over your life and unless your involved in it you wouldn’t believe how much time goes into it. But we do have one eye on next season already that’s for sure, from pre season schedule, training venues to potential targets that’s already started. I think next year its really important to keep as many as the current group as possible. I think they have been excellent, and all good sides have that continuity so hopefully we can keep as many as possible as they certainly deserve a chance. Hopefully they have all enjoyed being with us and see Concord as a club looking to progress and see what we can achieve in the future. Obviously the first priority is to get as many points as possible and to stay up which I don’t stop thinking about!
Let’s move onto the scouting, how is that organised? Is that a new thing the club have invested in this season?
In terms of player scouting, I try and watch as many games as possible as do the others, but what I wanted to do was setup a little scouting network, it was something I always wanted to do and Scopesy let me run with it so we took on five. We have three player scouts and two opposition scouts and its worked pretty well. I was delighted to see two of them get opportunities in leagues above so it was great for them and another positive for the club that we gave these guys an opportunity and they have moved on to good roles.
In terms of opposition scouting we are fortunate enough to have Scott Wagstaff who is brilliant and his attention to detail is spot on so he has been a real asset then we have the two other scouts we took on who also do the reporting (although 1 has just moved on to a club in national league). As you can imagine gaffer does his homework and wants to know everything about the opposition so with the collective information everyone puts in we always go into the games as prepared as possible.
100% the work never stops liaising with all the players whether that’s a loan or one of our own. Making sure they are happy is vital. As a management group although wanting to succeed as a club, there is always something special about helping a boy develop and progress. Even the boys we have taken on loan, seeing Tom Clifford start for Southend gives you a sense of pride, hoping you have helped him in some way into helping him get that chance.
Adam Drew was chatting to Chris Clark.