Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

Gaffer Keen To Find Perfect Partner During Speed Dating

15 June 2016

A relaxed Keith Hill spoke to Dale PlayerHD on Tuesday, discussing a range of topics including recruitment.


“The majority of our business this summer will be retaining the players that we’ve got and then progressively building on what we’ve already got going into pre-season and into August, because we all know the loan window closes at the end of August,” said the Gaffer.

“It’s going to be an interesting early part of the season and an interesting summer because there will be a lot of players who will start panicking when they’re out of contract in the next two weeks.

“There will be a lot of good pick-ups. I’ve got to use a keen eye and patience.”

He continued: “It’s speed dating [during this time in pre-season] because there’s that many managers meeting players at this moment in time.

“We, as managers, might as well sit in one room with all the players who are available on a free within our wage structure and say, ‘right, you’ve got five minutes each’, laughed Hill.

“If I’m going to go speed dating, then I want to find one perfect partner. I don’t want to get confused by dating everybody. Recruitment is a bit of a nonsense at times – trying to appease everybody.

“We haven't even started a league fixture and people are saying that we're losing players. We’re not. Ashley Eastham and Oliver Lancashire decided to leave for money. Those two players can’t say that the two managers they’ve signed for have got more of an ambition than anyone in the Football League as I have. 

“I’ll find decent replacements. I’ve found an unbelievable player in Niall Canavan. I was quite happy to sit down and have a romantic meal with Niall and we got the job done, laughed Hill.”

He added: “I would endorse more agents and players choosing managers over football clubs.

“I think that’s really important. Am I signing for a football club? Yes you are, but what’s important as well is that you are signing for a manager who has the intention to make you better and to make us stronger, and I think players have got to look at that. 

“They also look at the pay packets, which I understand, but look at the future pay packets, look at the players that we’ve had success with.

“I’ve just been on holiday and I’ve been speaking with players who have come into the coaching side of the game. An ex-player of mine who I had at Barnsley asked me how I feel when I see John Stones and Danny Drinkwater playing for England. Well, I have the same Father feeling seeing those two play for England as I do seeing Craig Dawson playing for West Brom and Matty Done playing for Sheffield United. Jack O’Connell was staying in the same hotel as me while I was on holiday and it was like bumping into my son. Those feelings are amazing.

“The fact of the matter is, I think players should sometimes choose their Managers because we do well with players, just ask Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. Everybody has come up to me to ask what I’ve done with Nathaniel. It’s not what we’ve done with him, it’s that we’ve found a special relationship and it works.

“It's really enjoyable. I have so many players who phone me up and say they wish they were still playing for me and wish they had listened to me when they were playing for me because everything I have said has happened. That’s because I talk through experience. 

“I wouldn’t say we were dream makers but we put players on the map. We can do that, there’s no question about that. We can do it as a club because we’re brutally honest in our appraisal of players.

“I get a great sense of pride when I see players who I have worked with at any level going on to make it, and make it big. I get a lot of gratitude from that and the players do too, because when I see them, we have that spirit and the kind of friendship that will last a long, long time.”

And the Gaffer has revealed what he looks for when making a final decision on a potential target.

“If I come out of the meeting with a player and think he’s somebody I could socialise with and have a few things in common with, then the majority of time it will work.

“That’s a great indicator for me, as well as what their priorities are. They have to be ambitious and they have to have an ambition to be successful as a team.

“We all have to earn money and we need to maintain a standard of living for our families, but if players just come in and talk about money then they’re not for me. When players come in and say can you improve me, do you want to improve me, what are we going to do this season, then that’s superb. But if they come in and are being pretty selfish then they’re not right for us as a football club.”

The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD. Hear what the Gaffer has had to say about the closure of the emergency loan window. 


Advertisement block