Swans manager Rob Watson gives his thoughts on what he’s been up to during lockdown, as well as his plans for the season once we finally get underway.
How have you been doing in lockdown? Staying healthy?
RW: “I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible, dog gets 4 walks a day now ha. I’ve been studying some football material for work and Barton too. I’ve also helped my friend doing some deliveries for Taylors Family Butchers.”
There was a quick turnaround from Craig Denton leaving to you becoming the new manager, was it an easy decision for you to take the job?
“Firstly I regard Craig as an excellent friend of mine and this helped build our football relationship. I’ve said from Day 1 I didn’t want Craig to leave but fully understood his reasons why and wish him all the best at Hallam. Hallam have taken James, Wayne and Ryan too and I fully expect them to succeed next year with that team of staff. As for me personally it was a no brainer carrying on at Barton as manager. I know the club well and I believe we started something here last year that I want to be a part of this season. I feel Barton has realistic expectations that match my own as a manager.”
You have brought in Nathan Peat as your assistant, what will he bring to the club?
“Nath joins the club as assistant but will be on the pitch as a player. For me the assistant role is vital to success and the best ones I’ve seen always challenge the manager. I know with Nath I’ll get that and his experience on and off the pitch is key to the success of the team this year.”
Have you spoken to the players? Do you have a retained list of players who’ve said they’ll come back?
“I’ve spoken to all the players and expressed my intentions. I’ve invited all players back next season but highlighted there’ll be competition for places this year. I believe you always have to be looking to improve your squad every season in order to achieve success. As in football some will stay and some will go.”
Any potential new signings on the horizon?
“I’ve agreed deals with a few players for next season but until that form is signed I’ll be keeping things close to my chest. I’ve been in non-league long enough to know that a lot can change in pre-season.”
What will be your target for the season when we finally get back to it?
“I want to be competing at the top end of the table. I fully believe we can achieve this with the squad we are putting together. We showed last season we can perform against the best in this league but a good start is key to next season.”
Finally, is there any message you’d want to send out to the fans/sponsors etc
“I want to be open with the fans from day one. I have the pleasure of working in football every day so I see how much fans/sponsors are a crucial part to non league team’s success. I want the fans to enjoy the way we play and bring a different twist on non-league football this year. I want us to play football and be dominant on the ball. People may laugh at this but I’ve seen it done and players want to play this way. With that though they’ll be game we need to grind out a win and we have the players for that this season.”