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    Meet the Manger Evening 

    Friday, February 10, 2012 12:23:00 PM

    Alloa Athletic Supporters – Meet the Manager
    Tuesday 7th February, 2012
    John White Suite, Recreation Park, Alloa

    Present – Paul Hartley (Manager), Mike Mulraney (Chairman/Director), Steven Lynch (Director)

    In attendance – John Spence, Brian Roach, Alan Taylor, June McLauchlan, Liam McIntosh, Andrew Spruce, Martyn Hammond, Gerry Watson, Beth Shotton, Owen Munro, Alistair Duff, Robin Duff, Ryan Ritchie, Ross McLauchlan, John Watson, Alistair Shand, Logan McFarlane, John Glencross & Robert Wilson (Appologies to those I have not included?)


    How do you see this season transforming?
    I have looked to build a squad capable of challenging at the top of the league, my aim was to be in a promotion play-off position by the end of the season. We are currently top of the league and now a lot of people expect us to go on and win the league, but I prefer to look at one game at a time, but we are in an encouraging position, at start of season our target was 56 points.

    Pre Season we appeared to practise on grass, was this deliberate?
    When I came to the club I was aware of teams poor record on grass last season – going 13 months without a victory on grass. We now have the best away record in the league and have put that behind us, the 3G Astroturf surface at Recreation Park is great, it gives great consistency and most players enjoy playing on surface.

    If we were to get promoted is it too early to start looking at players you would like to keep at Recreation Park?
    Of course it is something that I will need to talk with the Chairman about, we would want to keep the best players possible at the club and are always on the lookout to better our squad, every team has a budget but in fairness to the directors at Alloa Athletic they have been great to me.

    How far away is Ross Philp from returning to squad?
    Ross will not be rushed back, in the last couple of weeks he has been included in bounce games against Hibernian & Bo’ness United, he had a serious injury which takes time and patience but all I hear is good reports about Ross.

    How beneficial have our loan signing been?
    Very influential, Stevie May will stand out because of his goals but Kevin McHattie and now Ross McKinnon have also done great jobs, I have many good contacts within the game which helps, but you need to do your homework and make sure it is good for all parties, we still have one loan signing if required later in the season.

    High & Low points so far this season?
    I don’t get too high or low but look for positives even in defeat, although any bad result will eat away at me for three or four days until I can back with the players which for most part time clubs is two nights per week, but you need to keep as level headed as possible.

    How do you find the difference between Second & Third Division football?
    I don’t think there is a big difference between football played in both these divisions, it is not until that finishing is not as good in the Third Division but scoring goals is the hardest thing to do at any level of football. Since Stevie May has joined on loan from St.Johnstone he has been a revolution for us and not just scored goals but added pace and brings other players into the game.


    How difficult has it been not always having a goalkeeping coach available on Saturdays?
    This has not been such a big problem as Alan Combe helps our keepers at training during the week, being a goalkeeper is a specialised position but we are fortunate to have two excellent keepers at the club in Scott Bain & Craig McDowall, they are both young keepers who will only get better through experience.

    Paul was then asked again about keeping hold of our players?
    Of course there has been interest shown in some of our players, that is not something you can avoid especially if we are winning and still top of the league, what I would say however is that the club will not stand in players way and hold them back if the opportunity came in that suited the club and the player.

    Do you see Alloa Athletic as one of the best part time clubs?
    Last season was a disaster for the club to be relegated, my aim was to get them back into the Second Division as soon as possible, but then to push on and look towards the First Division. To do this you need to have progress on the pitch and a lot of luck.

    How do you expect the rest of the season to go?
    Others teams in the league are going to make it difficult for us, everybody will be looking to beat us, as people’s favourites to go up due to the position we find ourselves in, we need to be patient, build from the back and be ready to counter attack when given opportunity. We must not get complacent our next game will always be the most important, keep players focused – there will be lots of hard games but we must keep our standards high.

    Your thoughts on Ryan McCord’s disciplinary record, do you think referee’s pick on him?
    He’s Ginger isn’t he! Seriously he is too good a player to be sitting in the stand, it’s frustrating but you do not want to take anything out of his game – Ryan could easily play at a far higher level.

    How do you explain our great home record this season?
    We wanted to make Recreation Park a fortress, try and make it a ground other teams would find difficult, to this end we have good players with great spirit, they do not want to accept defeat, also great fitness levels which out fitness coach Tam Ritchie has brought to the club, we are so lucky to have been able to bring him to this club.

    How has your attitude changed to the pitch since when you last played on it for Aberdeen?
    To be honest my attitude to the pitch has never changed, I like it and have never complained about the surface, the injury to Fraser Fyvie could have happened anywhere and had nothing to do with the Recreation Park surface. Going forward – Stranraer, Annan Athletic and Partick Thistle are the latest clubs to be looking to change to the 3G surface possibly in the next close season.

    Stevie May in recent games has been taking a few hard challenges?
    The opposition now recognise him as being a very dangerous player and he will now be singled out but if he gets knocked down he just gets up and gets on with the game.

    In some recent games we seem to sit back in the second half of games?
    I do not consciously ask the players to sit deeper at any time during the games. We are a hard team to break down and will look to counteract when the opportunity arises. At times in games you cannot always be on the offensive

     

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    If we win promotion will we see you in an Alloa strip?
    I think it would be totally unfair on my players if I was to pull on an Alloa strip at any stage of the season, Although I registered myself as a player, since having taken the manager’s job on I find it far more beneficial to be at the side of the park and not on the park.

    Did you look to replace Fraser Forrest?
    I have already said that we have one loan signing which we could sign this season, however the defence has settled down better, the understanding with Ryan Harding and Ben Gordon has improved and we are now seeing a partnership which has been terrific over the last six weeks.

     

    At this stage in the evening the questions were then directed to chairman, Mike Mulraney.

    Mike was asked about the possibility of reserve football returning.
    It is thought that the club could be better served with a reserve team instead of the current under 19s who would play towards getting into first team football and increasing their football development which makes sense but we could only have either but not both reserves and under 19s.

    Will we be returning to play again in next seasons Oban Tournament?
    This will be the managers call with Paul Hartley confirming he enjoyed last season’s tournament, especially because the club won the tournament and would not discount it for next season but would like an overnight stay.

    Mike was then asked about the Stirlingshire Cup.
    He sees it as a weak tournament in the current format and wants change. He sees no value in the current format asking the fans to send any suggestion to improve the tournament to which the club might even reply!

    What is your thoughts regarding Friday night football?
    I think it is a great idea and one we would certainly be interested in. So far this season in the games played on Fridays there have been better crowds, ultimately the SFL would like to tie in some TV deal to make it work.

    What is your thoughts on the SFL pyramid system?
    This would not be supported by Alloa FC and it would appear the Juniors and highland league clubs
    Have no interest either, it would be a disaster for teams youth policies with the only interest then being in staying up, equally I do not see any value in having junior teams playing in the Scottish cup. Currently all SFL clubs require SFA licensing requirements, however this appears to be ignored for Junior clubs when they play in Scottish cup with barely a rope around the park and allowing supporters to drink alcohol within their grounds.

    Is there any news on progress with repair of fencing at railway end?
    The fence partly belongs to rail track as it is a boundary fence any repair or replacement to this would need to be agreed as a shared cost, insurance does not cover gale force wind damage on fencing. Ideally the club would like to replace with nets and flag poles, the nets to be black and yellow of course.

    The question of Alloa football tops was then raised, with supporters asking if they could be involved in choosing any new Alloa top.
    There is a wish for any new away top to be styled as a white top with black and yellow edging – Mike then explained that tops get changed every two years in rotation and the club are currently looking at options for a new first team top. Current suppliers Pendle require Alloa FC to order minimum of 600 strips at a time for hooped style tops. The club have also looked to other shirt suppliers (Joma) to see if they can reduce minimum levels of tops ordered – Alloa director Steven Lynch then produced a mock Alloa top fro 2012/13 season with no hoops, after initial disappointment about losing the hoops the fans agreed the top to be okay.

    Progress on facilities for fans at Wasp Centre , cost £ 20k – cheaper to buy pub in town
    Corporate donated from Bellway Homes recently gained drinks licence, can accommodate 40 for corporate pre match, hope to have available before end of season, could see possibility for season ticket holders to be allowed in for a drink prior to match. Asked about amount of complimentary tickets given out or asked for at other grounds, Mike explained players allowed one each + visiting scouts only, club do not ask for when they go away from home. “Because your son works in Tesco his mother cannot go in and get free loaf of bread” neither do the club offer complimentary tickets. Hope to maintain cost of Season ticket do not look to increase, indeed due to VAT increase to 20% season ticket this season even cheaper, club did not include VAT increase to fans. Still in talks regarding fast food (KFC) outlet on waste ground would not effect any plans to erect new stand. Taylor / Wimpey new sponsor deal, includes free season ticket for any Alloa fan buying Taylor / Wimpey home. Would be delighted with help from students if available from Stirling Unniversity.
    SPL 2 deal still not dead likely to be talked about again.

    Alloa Athletic Website currently working on moving hosting, due to capcity and connection problems.

     

    John Spence from the supporters club agreed to help promote Alloa home games by putting posters up around the town which would be supplied by the club.

    Martyn Hammond then thanked Mike for the clubs gesture in allowing the army and navy active serving personnel free entrance to Recreation Park..

    John Spence then asked Paul Hartley if he and the players would be able to attend the supporters Player of the Year Awards on Saturday 5 May, which Paul agreed to put in his diary.


    The evening closed with a vote of thanks at 8.15pm

     

     

     

     


     



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