Ahead of Lowestoft Town’s home meeting with bottom of the table Grays Athletic on Saturday, Trawlerboys manager Ady Gallagher speaks to Sean Galea-Pace and gives very honest thoughts about the current state of the club and what he feels must happen to turn his side’s season around.
How disappointed were you with your team’s 3-0 defeat to Canvey Island?
"I was disappointed with the result and the second half performance. I was frustrated more with the first half by the fact that we dominated the game for 40/45 minutes and didn’t convert our chances, that was the bone of frustration at half time. I felt that we were overplaying at times in the final third of the pitch and not been clinical in front of goal which has been our problem all season. It is something that has been talked about as a group since and something we want to try and put right because once again it was a performance that we felt we dominated long periods in and then ended up with a poor result and just lost our way in the game and stopped playing the football that was getting us success in the early part".
Do you feel that the poor second half performance ultimately cost you the game?
"Any poor element of the game has an effect on the result more often than not. We haven’t won games where we’ve played poorly and we need to get to a stage where we can do that and stay in games that you’re not playing particularly well in and grind out results. There’s a mood of frustration around the camp because like two or three games this year, we’ve had long spells in the game where we should have taken opportunities and haven’t done and then had to pay a price later against teams that we’re really better than. Our second half performance was frustrating, it seemed to me that we lost our way and lost the confidence in the way we were playing in the early stages of the game. It probably comes down to confidence, if you have consistent games where you have continued to pass the ball and do what we have done through games and got results then you have the confidence to keep doing that, but we aren’t getting enough results to gain that confidence at this moment in time and it’s something we need to work on".
How vital is it that your side puts in a positive performance this weekend against Grays?
"It’s not just about one game, you’re only as good as your last game and the next game is a chance to either live up to that level again or fight back. From our point of view, we need to react and we started the game against Canvey really well and even though we were playing well, there was still things that we needed to do better. We’ve had a good chat as a group and been open and honest in our discussions with each other. The main thing is that we have a group of lads who care about this football club, they are under the cosh now because we want to help them and bring people in if we can but the finances aren’t here at this moment in time. There does appear to be a massive cloud of negativity behind the club and that’s hugely frustrating for everyone. I’ve got a small squad with some injuries and illnesses which is affecting not only performances but morale too and you have to be very mentally tough to come through spells like this. I firmly believe I have a group of lads that can do that, I just think what they need is; to do a little bit better at times, be a bit more clinical in front of goal and defensively, stay together for longer periods in the game and keep working hard together for 90 minutes as we’ve always done and always believe that things will change. If they do those things, then I believe they have a great chance of picking up one or two results to gain some confidence to go on a half decent run".
Do you believe the fans have a right to be upset with the position the club finds itself in at the moment?
"It’s very frustrating to see gates dropping at this moment in time but it’s not surprising in many ways because there’s so much negativity about the football club that why would people want to turn up. I’ve been at Lowestoft a long time and I remember when I first joined there was only maybe 100 supporters in the ground and it was deathly quiet and since the turn of the century, we have been on a fantastic journey and I have played a major part in that along with other people, with different chairmen, with Mick (Chapman) and Flem (Craig Fleming), and we’ve seen a meteoric rise through the leagues and it’s been unprecedented for Lowestoft Town to be in that situation and the crowd has started to build through that rise and got behind the club because it was going into unchartered waters. Over the last 10, 12 years not many other clubs have enjoyed the level of success we have had and we have gone from league to league until we reached Conference football which was absolutely fantastic and along the way we had great cup runs, we had a Wembley final, we had league titles and we had all of that excitement for years and years at this football club and that is fantastic. But the reality is that’s history, and the chairman isn’t able to put the money into the club that he has put into the club in the past and we have to live within our means. I’m prepared to put at risk the reputation I’ve had at the club through all those good years by helping to steady the ship through some troubled and tight financial times. Our backs are right against the wall financially because as well as not being able to add to the squad like before, we have also lost the academy which has affected income to the club. Losing the academy has also had an effect on the size of the squad because where we would have planned to have a back-up of academy players, we’ve not only lost those players but we have also lost a player in Danny Crow too because of what happened. The budget is drastically reduced from previous years and if crowds continue to decrease we’re going to struggle to maintain that. All of these things have had an effect on the club, extra costs and a reduction in income and therefore, a reduction in the playing budget. This is a troubled time and it’s not my doing. As a manager I haven’t caused this situation, I’ve just been man enough to stand here and take the flack for different situations that I haven’t contributed to and have gradually tried to change the look of our squad into a much younger squad that costs a lot less to run and still try and maintain our club at the highest level it can be at. It’s tough when you get criticised constantly but I’ll take it. The players at this football club need the support, don’t focus on hitting me because I’m trying to do whatever I can for this football club as I have done for the last 17 years, focus on supporting and encouraging the players because we have really got our backs against the wall at this moment in time and we’ve given a lot to the club over the last 10 to 15 years, lots of trophies, lots of success and we’ve given loads to the supporters in that time, great moments and memories. What I’m asking now is for you to come and get behind the team and support us. If you don’t want to support me and want to give me flack that’s absolutely fine but people who know me, know that I’m an honest guy and that I will sweat blood for the club and I’d give whatever I can for the club. All I’m asking for supporters to do is put any frustration aside, no one wants to be in this situation but it’s a real situation because money is incredibly tight. We need more income, the boys on the pitch need your support. As hard as it is, I know you’ve been spoilt by some great football in the past but these boys are doing everything they can to win games of football for Lowestoft Town and all I want is for the supporters to identify and understand that the players are fighting hard for the club at this moment in time. It’s a bit of an hour of need and we need people to get behind them".
How confident are you that you can turn around Lowestoft’s season following an inconsistent start to the season?
"We haven’t got started yet. As a team, it’s tough because of our small squad and the injuries and illnesses we’ve had. We seem to be getting crucial moments that go against us and that happens sometimes, when confidence is low maybe luck doesn’t go with you. All I can say is that we’re still only four points off seventh place, which is on the verge of the play-offs, and as much as people will remind me that we’re six places off the relegation zone. For a team that hasn’t got started but should have accumulated more points this season have beaten the top team home and away this year, we know we have enough about us to get up the table. What we do need is to get everyone back fit and available and get a couple more players in the squad so we don’t have to continually flog players with minor knocks and then get a couple of results. I’m 100% confident we can turn things around and bring ourselves up the table but let’s not forget our budget is 60% of what it was when we were in this league before. I wouldn’t expect supporters to accept 60% of the success because of it but that’s a fact that is very real of where we are as a club at this moment in time. So please don’t ignore that and identify that that is what we are up against, we can’t be judged on the same terms as before. It’s easy to support a winning team, anyone can do that, but when you’re not winning that’s when you have to show your real spirit. Just as players have to show their real character when things are tough, just as when managers have stand there, take the flack, be resilient and not let it affect them, it’s the same with supporters. When your team is really up against a wall that’s the time to say I’m going to be here the next game, next week, next season no matter what happens and keep supporting my team because they’ve given me so much pleasure and this is where they need my support most. That’s what I’m saying to supporters, let any personal opinion or preference go to one side and just simply get behind your team and support them because we all care about the club and we all desperately want to do as well as we can and we are all trying to do our best".
Updated 18:12 - 11 Nov 2016 by Terry Bullen