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INTERVIEW WITH DAN WILLIAMSON: NEW FIRST TEAM MANAGER
15th March 2021
Dan Williamson was named as First Team manager of Baguley Athletic less than a week ago and the club have caught up with him to discuss his future role and his decision to join the Badgers.
Dan – First of all, huge congratulations on becoming the first ever Baguley Athletic First Team manager. How quickly did the offer come about and did you have to think twice?
Thank you! I've known Paul Stewart (chairman) for almost seven years now, and I know he's always wanted a Saturday afternoon team. For one reason or another it just hasn't worked out yet. He approached me recently to see if I was available and interested. It wasn't an easy decision, however, because I really enjoyed my time with Wythenshawe Town. The others in the management team - James Kinsey (manager), Dan Whiteside (assistant manager) & Grant Spencer (first team coach) - are top lads who I've learnt a lot from, and now consider friends. The club is definitely going places and I had really good relationships with the players and rest of the people involved with the club during my 21 months there. Ultimately, it boiled down to my personal ambition to be the manager again, rather than playing more of a background role in the management team.
What attracted/excited you about returning to the Club?
Aside from giving me the opportunity to manage again, it's a club I know well having played for, and managed, the Sunday team. Paul is a great chairman who I know will back me to the hilt, and the home ground (Wythenshawe Cricket Club in Northenden) is one of the best at the level in terms of facilities. The chance to make history for the club, as the first ever Saturday afternoon team, also appealed.
The role may seem as a drop down from your previous coaching role. What is the ambition here?
It may be a drop in terms of standard, but from a personal point of view this new role gives me more control over the whole team, in terms of recruitment, strategy, and everything else that comes with being the manager. The short-term goal, as we're starting completely from scratch, is to build a squad over the course of pre-season, to make sure that we're ready to go on the first day of the league campaign. I'm not going to make any grandiose predictions about how we'll do in our first season, because at this stage I don't know the full extent of my squad or which division we'll be placed in, and predictions can come back to bite you, but what I will say is that we're not doing this just to take part. We've got a top management team which will leave no stone unturned, and have been chatting to players who I know will thrive at the level.
What philosophy will the First Team under your management have?
In terms of philosophy, we certainly won't be following the latest tactical fad. We'll look to outwork our opponent's week in week out, be defensively resolute in our own half, and allow the players to express themselves in the opposition half.
Lots of clubs are announcing signings and retentions on Twitter etc. When can we expect to see Baguley doing the same? How far are you into contacting players and maybe sounding out new signings?
In the first few days alone, we've contacted more than 30 players and all but three have said they're keen to come down to pre-season which is a great response for us. Considering that a lot of players will be playing well into June - given that the FA have extended the grassroots season - we won't be making any announcements soon. We'll be waiting for players to come to pre-season to make sure they're right for us and that our culture is right for them.
Rumours are that you'll be entering the Lancashire and Cheshire League - what sort of challenges are you expecting in your first season?
I know of a lot of the teams in the L&C League, and plenty of lads who play in it, so know it will be a decent standard. We're expecting it to be tough and to be honest I wouldn't want it any other way. As I said earlier, with the management team we have, and some of the players we're in touch with, I'm confident we'll be fine and I'm really excited to get started.