Fans Forum 6th February “Match Report”

On the Panel


Mark Devlin (Chief Executive)

David Weir (Assistant Manager)

Cliff Crown (Chairman)

Peter Gilham (MC)

Mark Warburton (Manager)

Frank McParland (Sporting Director)


Peter Gilham opened the forum with a tribute to Ron Jacobs who passed away recently. As he has no next of kin and would only be eligible for a paupers funeral a fund has been launched via the official site and the Griffin Park Grapevine and the total pledged so far is around £2,700


Q: Can Mark [Warburton] confirm he hasn’t applied for the job at Wolves!! (asked tongue in cheek)

MW: I can confirm I haven’t!

Q: Can the manager explain why he doesn’t bring all the players back for corners and free kicks?

MW: To put it bluntly, I try and score more goals than I concede!


Q: Two reasonably established players have gone out on loan (Farid and Shaluem) and have been replaced with two youngsters, what was the thinking behind that?

MW: Farid is an outstanding pro, first class, had some nasty injuries but his ability to last 90 minutes at this level was questionable. We felt he wouldn’t have the impact over 90 minutes . Rightly or wrongly that was our opinion. If you look at Chuba or Will [Grigg] they are at a different level. Shay has done well, Nico [Yannaris] has come in on 2 and a half year and deal he is ours, not on loan. We are looking for players who can come in and develop at that higher level

(Championship). Shay is 25, Nico is 20.


Q: James Tarcowski – what was the reasoning in sending him out on loan immediately.

FM: He hasn’t gone out yet, we are still working on a number of things, the centre backs have been outstanding, he will go out for 28 days and will play regular games, he is one of the best young centre backs. Otherwise he would sit on the bench if he stays here it will be difficult to put him in the team. He can come back after 28 days and be ready for the first team. Warbs convinced him to come here over an hour and half meeting.


 Q: Listening to Beesplayer on Saturday there appeared to be some confusion over who is our penalty taker.

MW: Adam Forshaw was meant to play 25 minutes, came on slightly earlier due to the injury to Nico. Before the game the penalty takers were decided. 1,2,3 is written on the whiteboard on a

game by game basis.


Q: What’s the difference between a Developement Squad contract and a first team one and can a DS player play for the first team.

MW: It is a set amount of money that we agree to pay DS players – it comes under the academy budget. If they are good enough they train with the first team and play with the first team.


Q: Trotta seems to substituted a lot, is there a reason for that?

DW: There’s no issue with him lasting 90 minutes, it’s just a decision we make at the time. If there’s an opportunity to get other people on this pitch we want to do so. Nothing personal or sinister behind it, he’s more than capable.

MW: We play a high tempo game and to maintain that tempo for 90 minutes we have to replace people.


Q: In recent years there has been a number of cases of footballer being arrested for serious offences including sexual violence, violent behaviour and match fixing. Does the club have a policy related to players/officials being charged with such offences?

MD: There is something in everybody’s (whether, player, staff or official) contract that all players keep in line with the FA rules and whether they bring Football or the club in disrepute. We would take an individual on their own merits. From a club’s point of view it would be difficult to comment in general.


Q: Regarding the Development Squad, how is it monitored and who is ready to step up?

MW: Charlie Adams has done well and is involved with the first team, may go out on loan.

Alfie Mawson is out on loan but train’s with the first team twice a week. They have just got to impress the first team staff. Jack Bonham is at Arsely and is watched every game, so really it depends on each individual.


Q: Why isn’t there reserved seating for all matches?

MD: Probably in the Championship we will have to move to reserved seating. The club has never had a policy of reserved seating, except eg Chelsea, Doncaster last season. I think fans prefer unallocated but they may have to change in the Championship.


Q: Did you ever think about playing for Brentford? –

DW: I was never asked. I’ve enjoyed it since I’ve been here.


Q: Will we be able to keep the players we have on loan?

MW: If we go up yes, if not no, that’s life.


Q: Did anyone come in our players in January?

MW: I’m amazed at this question always being asked, if we lose a player it goes on our terms. We are not going to lose a player valued at say £5m for 100k, players like Bidwell, Forshaw will only leave on our terms, they are on 3 years contracts.

FM – It is going to be very dififcult for anyone to take our players, MW did such a good job as Sporting Director


Q: I have always been a fan of Norris, his contract is up this year, what is his future?

MW: Luke was on loan at Northampton scored and at Dagenham a=on his debut, the blunt question is are they going they going to impact at Championship level. We will monitor him, will he impact? We will see.


Q: How do you maintain the relationship with clubs loanees, both in terms of out and the cultivation of our players when with other clubs.

FM: (With regards to players coming in) 99% was MW in his previous role and my role at Liverpool. It’s building a relationship with clubs regarding players.

MW: (With regards to players going out on loan) I’m amazed clubs send players out to different type’s of clubs, we make sure players are looked after and clubs we send them to play a certain style.


Q: The contract for MW is quite short, what is the thinking behind that?

CC: I said to Mark the other dat, it’s dead easy this management! Mark had not managed a football club before so, this is new territory for him. A lot of where we are today is down to Mark. We know the quality we’ve got. If you asked me if I expected Mark to be unbeaten after 10, I would’ve said probably not. We will not be letting him go.

MW: I always talk about the support team, a lot of the support here is first class. Arsenal were very grateful for the amount of feedback we gave them about Chuba.


Q: Is there any update regarding Connor Macaleny?

DW: He played for Everton reserves on Monday and was on the bench for their cup tie match. He is one we would love to get again, but we’ve got to be careful we bring players that we need. He is one the mend which is the most important thing, the level of care he got here when got injured was testament to staff here.


Q: Is Saunders going to be back soon?

MW: He was running the last couple of days and was due to have a scan tonight. He had a niggly injury that didn’t show up on the scan initially. Hopefully a few days away.


Q: What is the thinking behind the orient ticket allocation?

MD: Announcement was delayed due to Orient having to move people. We have to sell 2,100 tickets otherwise we have to pay for a certain minimum. We think we will take at least that and probably fill the allocation. I spoke to Mathew [Benham] and he was happy for us to go for it.


Q: Why are our transfers always undisclosed, when fees are stated in other sources such as the media?

MD: The regulation with the Football League is that all transfers are not supposed to be disclosed. It depends on the club, whether it is “accidentally on purpose” leaked to the media. A lot of what goes into press is conjecture and they will guess. The main point is that we have secured a player.


Q:Wolves have signed a couple of players for big money. Will teams drop off, who will be in contention?

DW: We will focus on ourselves. Leyton Orient got 4 or 5 players on loan but you can spend all day talking about other clubs, but we only need to focus on ourselves.


Q: Is it a 3 horse race?

MW: It is going to take a hell of a lot of points to go up, probably 96.


Q: What was the feeling on winning manager of the month last month and maybe next month?

MW: My wife said where do I put this? It’s not a manager of the month award it’s a sqaud award. Sam said the same about his player of the month award, it’s a squad award.


Q: When will the LR decision be made and will the atmosphere be as good as something like the superbowl?

CC: We will hear on Tuesday whether or not if Boris is going to call it in (subsequently corrected by Brian Burgess that this is unlikely). It is going to be 20,000 seater, you have seen what the fans can do by turning up. I urge you to spread the word and get the numbers up to 10k. If we go up and get LR and get 15k in that stadium every week it will be amazing.

MD: We will consult with fans, we have spoken to other clubs particularly Cardiff about atmosphere. We do not want a soulless bowl, we want to build a stadium with atmosphere.


Q: Would Arsenal be concerned about the amount of time a player will get?

MW: We will never agree to a loan with stipulations about the amount of game time. There may be different payment clauses etc.


Q: Is the loyalty scheme a success?

MW: Yes I would consider it a success, it adds some fairness how we distribute tickets for key games, there is loads more and we are still learning from other clubs. We are restricted at GP but when we get to LR we will have a full good scheme.


Brian Burgess Lionel Road – Update. It is unlikely it will be next Tuesday [for Boris to approve], truth is we don’t know. It still has to go to the Secretary of State, he doesn’t have a fixed timetable (he can extend it). It could be a month. It is important to sign the petition.


Q: Because of council and General Elections, if the decision gets delayed would the delays make a difference to plans etc.

CC: Yes it would definitely make a difference, what they are remains to be unseen. Everything is geared towards going full steam ahead, the Football League do not like clubs changing stadium mid season. So could be August 2017. Any delay in opening the stadium with result in extra costs due to inflation etc.


Q: Will it impact staying at Griffin Park?

CC: August 2017 will be a deadline for us to have an all seater in The Championship


Q: Will the dugouts be moved back to the Bees United Stand?

MD: The subject hasn’t cropped up a board level, a couple of directors wanted it in the past, if there was wide scale support would we do it. It would cost about £20k, we have issues of displacing ST holders in the paddock. They wouldn’t be able to where they are [on New Road] as they can’t go on the half way line. There is probably a better way to spend £20k. It’s not as straight forward as you would think.


Q: Stadium Tours – at the moment the only opportunity to tour GP is via hospitality would we open it on non match days,

MD: Open to it, to be fair it would only be this stand as there isn’t much to look at, if we can accommodate requests I would have no problem looking at it.


Q: Do the staff consider Shrewsbury a point gained or 2 lost considering the conditions.

MW: After the game the players were disappointed. In the end we came away with a point, Tony Craig was outstanding in that game and has been throughout the season.


Q: Is the game on on Saturday?

MD: If the weather forecast is as is it is then doubtful. The pitch is very soft – there will be some doubts if the forecast is accurate. Keep an eye on the official site, at the same time we would like to get the game played.


Q: How many of our current squad would sustain it at a Championship level?

MW: If you look at the budget’s – Cardiff’s was £35m, Leicester’s £32m. 10M is a survival budget. People like Adam Forshaw you have to bring through via development, if you have the budget and can bring in one or two great. To answer a large percentage can play at a higher level.

CC: The club has achieved Academy Category 2 status, one of only two outside of the Premiership and Championship, that is down to Mathew Benham’s funding. As part of that support we have been ab;e to bring in people like Ose and Sean O’connor.

MW: If we have aspirations for Championship and higher, the academy has to step it up as well. That’s why we’ve brought in Frank and Sean O’Connor so they can find the best players in Europe. FM – we are working very hard with the academy, you can build the dome, you can have the best coaches, but you’ve got to develop players. We want to have half the first team from the academy in five years. The higher we go the harder it becomes to produce players.


Q: With the new stadium, are there plans to share with a rugby club.

CC: No specific plan but it is possibility. We won’t rule it out,


Q: We very rarely see scouts at grass roots level.

FM: We don’t have thousands of scouts here, we have good scouts. Drop us an e-mail, you can help us, as can any supporters. Our young players are as good as any club I’ve worked with


Q: How do you stop Premier League scouts from poaching our academy players?

FM: Kids have to love coming here, they have to run into training and want to play. We say to the 16-17 year olds, they can be first ones to run out at the stadium. You have to get that though to the players, how do we keep them – you just work hard to keep them.