Following the announcement of Pete Wild as the new FC Halifax Town manager. Kelly Gilchrist spoke to Wild to get his thoughts.
He said: “It’s a great honour. It’s a club with an illustrious history. A club that I’ve always seen do well in the past. It’s a club that I feel suits the way that I want to go with football. I think it’s a really good fit for us.”
Having spent 12 years at Oldham Athletic, this is Wild’s job away from the League Two club. Wild reflected on the long journey working his way up through the club.
He said: “12 years at Oldham working my way through the academy. From academy manager to first team manager, it has been a long journey. I started as the under 12s assistant manager. I progressed my way through then came in full time six years ago. Started working with the 16s and 18s. Then moved through to academy manager just over 12 months ago. Then six months ago, became the first team manager.”
One of Wild’s greatest achievements with Oldham was the FA Cup giant-killing against Fulham. An amazing result for the club and Wild.
He said: “It was a great day for us. Oldham have got a history of upsets, being the giant-killers. We managed to get a result against a Premier League side under Claudio Ranieri. A Premier League winning manager, it’s a nice coup for everybody that was involved.”
Following two spells as manager of Oldham, Wild looks back on the two spells which had very different requirements.
He said: “It was hectic. A little bit in transition, a little bit of having to do things quickly and work quickly. The first time I was caretaker, the second was head coach so they were two different experiences. As caretaker you’re working week to week, whilst as head coach you get more chance to plan. First time around we were three points off the playoffs, the second time with a week to go we were on the verge of the playoffs. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get over the line. I feel like I had a positive influence twice.”
A lot of the reaction on social media has been overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority of Oldham fans made it clear they were disappointed Wild left them.
He said: “I had a really good rapport. Being from Oldham helps, but I had a really good rapport with the Oldham fans. There were some lovely messages I’ve had. But things move on, time moves on. Unfortunately, things were different at Oldham. I felt it was time to go and seek a new challenge. I feel like I’ve landed on that new challenge and I’m really excited to try and get that same sort of success.”
This is Wild’s first job outside the football league he seems confident of his ability to adapt to the new challenges he’ll be facing this season.
He said: “Whilst I was at Oldham we tried to do a lot of our recruitment from the National League. I’ve watched a lot of games. I know it’s unforgiving. It’s similar to League Two in terms of its Saturday-Tuesday most weeks. You can play well and get beat. You can get run over if you’re not withstanding the challenge. I’m fully aware of the challenge ahead. I liken it a lot to League Two, but I know it’ll come with different challenges.”
This season, the National League contains a lot of ex-football league clubs such as Notts County, Hartlepool United and Yeovil Town. Wild is fully aware of how tough the opposition are but remains confident the club can compete with these teams.
He said: “We’ve got to make sure we equip ourselves well and we compete against these big clubs. We’re looking to recruit a certain standard of player that can withstand that competition. I think if we get the right people in and with the people we’ve already got in the building, we can have a real go this year. We can be really competitive and try to push through. Certainly get higher than we were last year. Try and get into that top half and who knows.”
With former manager Jamie Fullarton leaving on Monday the 15th of July. It took just nine days to appoint Wild in what was an enjoyably process.
He said: “It has been an interesting process. I wanted to try and get back in the game with a club that shared a similar vision to me. I felt from day one, I had a really good rapport with the Chairman. I felt I got my views and opinions across. Thankfully, amongst a lot of applications, the chairman saw me as somebody that can lead the club forward. From the players I’ve seen excellent application. We had a chat before we started training. I expressed to them what we wanted from them. In the interim period we’ve got a lot of good trialists in. So I came off the training ground really pleased this morning.”
Coming into the club, Wild admitted he is familiar we quite a lot of the squad due to his time at Oldham working with the academy.
He said: “I’m familiar with Nathan Clarke and the career that he has had. He was on loan with Oldham for a time. So I know Nathan really well and what he can offer. Quite a lot of the young lads I’ve come across during my career working through the ranks at Oldham. People like Jack Earing who’s done well. Matty Brown I’ve always known about and what he’s about. So there’s been quite a few people that I’ve come across over the years.”
Wild joined the club with just 10 days left until the start of the season. Whilst he acknowledges that numbers are low, he needs to make sure he gets the right players in.
He said: “We’ve got a training game Saturday morning, where we’ll look to assess the current trialists that are in. There are others that will join the group. As you can imagine my phone hasn’t stopped today, agents trying to sell me the next best thing. What I’ve got to do now is work through all them. Recruit quickly but not be naïve in my recruitment. We need a certain type of player in mind, a certain type of player with an attitude that suits the group and you’ve got to be careful to not got numbers in because you need them. I’m fully aware that we do need numbers through the door. It’s going to be a good balancing act over the next eight days to bolster that squad.”
Town face Oldham away on Tuesday in the final preseason fixture. Wild revealed that this was nothing to do with his appointment.
He said: “It was nothing to do with me. The chairman took about 10 minutes to tell me we were going to Oldham on Tuesday night. One thing in our favour Tuesday night is I know a lot of the Oldham players very well. I’ll be able to pitch our players against them and look to see how they compare. It’ll give me a real good feel to where our players are. It’s perfect because I can compare players quite quickly. We want to give with a team on Tuesday night that we can put into practice. We can set up in terms of how we want to be organised. We need to look to do that quite quickly. It’s minutes, getting our plan across, and putting it into practice but not overdoing it.”
Wild wants to create an exciting brand of football that creates chances whilst being tough to beat.
He said: “It might take a few weeks, I’ll ask for the fans to be patient. But what you are going to see from a Pete Wild side is first and foremost organised. Be really tough to play against, be tough to beat. But we want to express ourselves going forward. My teams last year would always score goals. We’d always create chances and be exciting. We were very resilient and I want to build some resilience. I want to build on the good work Jamie Fullarton did last year with clean sheets. Maybe add some more pace and attacking flair.”
The games come thick and fast with Ebbsfleet away, Hartlepool at home, and Dagenham at home in the first week. With eight games in the first month, Wild asks for patience but acknowledges the desire for wins and exciting football.
He said: “The fans pay their money. It’s important that the players work quickly to make sure that we give the fans what they want. If we work hard and entertain then hopefully the fans will start coming through the door. Then we can start to build something that they want to see. I call for patience as much as I call for optimism. I want to get it right and I’m aware I’ve got to do that quickly.”
At just £199, this year’s season ticket works out at just £8.65 a game. Wild calls for everyone to come down and watch what the team have to offer and help create an atmosphere.
He said: “It’s great value for money. Hopefully we can offer a brand of football similar to what I produced last year. I’d encourage you to come out and have a watch. Come down and support the lads because the more people we get through the door, the greater the atmosphere. The lads can then go and express themselves and show what they feel they can offer. Having been down to the Shay in the past I know if we can get the fans in, then they’ll create an excellent atmosphere that we can look forward to on a Saturday afternoon.”
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