Almost a month after his first appearance in front of an assembled crowd of Sheffield United supporters, David Weir once again fielded questions from the United faithful in a second “Meet The Manager” forum.
Held at the Holmelea (Old Handsworth WMC) on Monday 19th August 2013, the gaffer was questioned by members of Handsworth Blades Supporters Club in an evening which again demonstrated his willingness to get out and about speaking with supporters.
The Handsworth Blades have also sponsored Callum McFadzean’s kit this season, so a presentation was made before the event kicked off, with Callum taking the stage with the supporters club committee.
For those who couldn’t make the evening, we streamed coverage on our Twitter feed and here on S24SU.com.
For your digestion, here is the full transcript of the coverage (Please bear in mind that as fast as we can type, we often have to summarise in the interests of keeping up and legibility) –[fulltitle]Transcript from the evening[/fulltitle]
19:30 pm – Handsworth Blades Supporters Club have sponsored Callum McFadzean this season, so Callum is here with his home shirt shaking hands with the committee
19:32 pm – John Garrett introduces the evening and passes over to Chris Booth, chairman of Handsworth Blades Supporters Club
19:33 pm – Chris Booth introduces the evening and puts across the point that the evening is about football, which is why David Weir is here. The evening isn’t about money, contracts or queues for Bovril.
Chris passes back to John Garrett (SLO) who introduces David Weir who walks to the stage from the back of the room to applause.
John Garrett explains the procedure regards asking a question, attracting attention in order to get the microphone and requests that someone kicks us off with an opening question.
19:35 pm – Question from the floor: In the light of Kevin McDonald going, how frustrated are you after a pre-season with him, things looking good and then off he goes?
19:35 pm – David Weir: It’s frustrating, but I was aware there was a possibility he could leave. I want players who want to be here, Kevin decided he didn’t so I’d rather he go now, while I’ve got the chance to move on and do something else.
The club and team is more important than one individual. If someone leaves, we replace them, whether from within or bringing someone in. If someone wants away, I’d rather know that.
19:37 pm – Question from the floor: Like everyone, I’m a long suffering Blade. We’ve seen some rubbish, but it’s not always been like that and we did play some football some years ago… Do you think we can get out of this division with good attractive football rather than long ball?
19:38 pm – David Weir: I absolutely believe that. We aren’t going to win playing that way every week. From the ground up, the only way we’re going to be successful is develop real football players. The best teams in the world are doing that. It’s a bit of a fallacy that you go down the leagues and you’ve got to play long ball. There are other ways and means of getting results.
19:39 pm – Question from the floor: I’d like to know what the thinking is behind defending at corners?
Magnified by Saturday, we have no outlet. It’s just gonna come back, this goes against your possession football theory.
19:41 pm – David Weir: Good question and a good point. It’s something we debate and on Saturday it was a disappointment. We made the wrong decision, Tony crossed it when we should have passed it. We were punished for it. Speaking with their manager, last time they (Colchester) did that corner was 18 months ago, the opposition scored from it. It was a bit of cat and mouse… we were punished for that circumstance. To answer your question, we feel it’s a more secure way of not conceding. Many goals in this league are scored from set pieces.
When we’re defending corners, our primary goal is to stop the opposition scoring.
19:42 pm – Question from the floor: If you are allowed to spend, where do you want to strengthen most?
19:42 pm – David Weir: We’ve fundamentally got to improve all areas. We need a striker, a creative player (number 10 if you will), we need a central defender who can compete with the others and if I’m being greedy, also a wide player.
We’ve got some good players, but we’re always looking to improve. It’s important we take small steps and do it in the right manner long term. I want to do something sustainable.
We’ve got Lee, Adam and scouts all over the place tonight, taking in all sorts of stuff. As well as recruiting we need to bring through our own and not block their pathway. We’re making judgments based on real thought, rather than spur of the moment quick fixes.
19:46 pm – Question from the floor: You said earlier about the blueprint for the club. I want to win something, when is the blueprint going to be winning something instead of producing players for other teams?
19:47 pm – David Weir: Whatever way you dress it up, football is about winning. There has to be a strategy and thought behind it to build something that is going to be lasting rather than a quick fix. Money doesn’t guarentee that.
The best teams and the best success is about utilising your own and adding to that with the best you can afford. We can’t just go out and buy, bring in players who don’t guarentee success either.
You need the methodology, sensibility and logic behind it. I’d rather go that way, probably because I’m Scottish, but I feel I have to spend wisely and I take that seriously.
19:48 pm – Question from the floor: We always sell them though, that’s the point. To supplement, surely at some point we need to keep hold of them to be able to build a successful side. We say no or ask for more money?
19:51 pm – David Weir: You can’t keep a player if he doesn’t want to stay. You can also only pay them so much, especially now in League One. Ultimately with Kevin (McDonald), who isn’t a League One player – we couldn’t afford to pay the wage that would have kept him.
Do we go far beyond our means? do we go into liquidation?
We’ve got a responsibility to do it that way. If we have to trade and sell while we work our way up, then we’ll get to that stage where we can say to a player “you can stay and play with us to the top”. At the moment, we simply aren’t there.
There is a plan within the club to get there. There’s no doubt we tried to keep Kevin. He was on good money already, we went above and beyond that, but there is a ceiling… are we just flashing £££’s to keep him?
There becomes a point where it becomes obvious he doesn’t want to be here. I’ve no question that we made a very good effort to keep him, but he didn’t want to be here.
19:53 pm – Question from the floor: Miller and DeGirolamo, they are some way away… Are you considering loans until they are back?
19:55 pm – David Weir: Shaun is back kicking a ball, which is good to see. I don’t want to block what we’ve already got by bringing in loans for the sake of it.
There is an area for it, but once you get beyond one or two, you lose ownership of your team with odds and ends there.
You need a core of your players, who know the place and are ours. We need that base that really cares. one or two maximum, any more you run the risk of losing control.
19:56 pm – Question from the floor: I love transfer deadline day, is it worth keeping my phone charged?
19:57 pm – David Weir: Hopefully. Personally, I think if you get down to that day, you’ve got a bit of a problem. Ideally, you’d have your business done before then.
We have procedures in place identifying, we’re working on things, we know the areas. You’re competing against others, you’re trying to be realistic money wise and you need to bring players in with the right principles and motivation.
If you’re getting down to the last minutes, you can make mistake. Hopefully we’ll do it before then.
19:57 pm – Question from the floor: What about if someone comes in for Harry or George?
19:58 pm – David Weir: That’s the nightmare. We are prepared, there are no guarantees, but we have a weekly meeting, we’ve got lists of players, priorities, plans A, B and C… But if you’re given two hours notice, it’s very difficult.
19:59 pm – Question from the floor: You’ve been in a couple of months, what’s your impression now and what was it before you came?
19:59 pm – David Weir: Nothing but good. When I interviewed, it just felt right. Everyone’s been very straightforward and honest. I couldn’t have asked any more. The supporters have been very fair, turn up in numbers.
I understand the frustrations about where we are. It’s a good pressure to be expected to win every week, I want players who will accept and meet that challenge.
On Saturday, it was pleasing for us, you could sense the impatience and the crowd willing us to score quickly. I like that.
I’m a supporter, you’re a supporter. People like different things but I’m not going to sit here and say we need patience, because we’re all the same. I know the way we want to play will make us successful, it’s the way forward.
20:04 pm – Question from the floor: Are you going to move players on that aren’t good enough, I can name 5 now not good enough?
20:04 pm – David Weir: Moving players out is hard. People want to play for us, we’re Sheffield United. I’m not going to mention anyone, it’s not as easy as that. I’d rather work with players until we’ve got the power, I’d rather be honest with them and let them know my thoughts.
I don’t want discontent or bad attitudes, I’d rather be upfront with them and maximise what we can while they are here. It’s a difficult thing in football now. Football is changing, I get phone calls every day from agents with players without clubs – players with them want to keep them.
It’s difficult to get out of contracts and that’s not the way forward.
20:07 pm – Question from the floor: We want to see football, we’re agreed on that… I know it’s early doors, but I’m thinking of Burton… It seemed to be football for football’s sake. We can pass 40 passes all day, Brentford passed directly with pace. Are we looking to do that? because we don’t seem to have that impetus.
20:09 pm – David Weir: To be honest, I agree with you. Everyone told me Brentford were a football team. But I watched them before, I didn’t think they did in my opinion.
You’ve hit the nail on the head for us, I’ve watched Saturday twice through, a big big part of how we need to improve is the final third and driving forward…
**Nods at Callum McFadzean**
…We’ll be talking about that on the field tomorrow. We’re back to front a little bit, we get a lot of the ball, but it’s punishing the opposition we need to get hold of and strike the balance with. We’re working on it.
20:10 pm – Question from the floor: A lot of emphasis on youth, what about experience. A lot of these are heads down when things aren’t going well, any thought to bringing some leaders in?
20:11 pm – David Weir: You need experience, you need knowledge and you need people who can help them develop on the pitch. Neill Collins and Michael Doyle have been excellent at that. Doyle has been a shining light and made our job much better. Collins has been fantastic at it too. The experience is there, I’m more than open to bringing more, but if it comes to a choice between good older player and good younger player, I’ll be picking the younger player.
20:12 pm – Question from the floor: One of the questions I’ve seen asked a lot, is what is your first XI?
20:13 pm – David Weir: I’m trying to work that out. I brought McGinty in at the weekend, I needed to see him playing at Bramall Lane. I want a group of players who can all contribute, where you can bring people in. I want to get to the position where we have a squad that is tight, can cover all the bases and give us more options. It would end up causing problems relying on a strict first XI. They all need a chance of playing and a pathway into the team.
I’m sure everybody here has got their own ideas. I spend a lot of time, thinking, planning, it’s very exciting and it’s a great opportunity. I’m going to do all within my power to make it successful, the club deserves it and the fans deserve it. There will be ups and down, you might not agree with me, but I can promise the hard work is going in with the club at heart.
20:15 pm – Question from the floor: Saturday, our fullbacks. They didn’t get forward as much, neither did the wide players. Did you change your plans?
20:16 pm – David Weir: I wanted to get an idea on how some would fit in. I thought there were positives and negatives. I want the biggest picture possible and to see how people fit in, I’m learning about them day in, day out. You learn most about players in games, so I was glad to give them the opportunity and see them. I feel we’re further forward off the back of that.
20:17 pm – Question from the floor: Our forward play was more negative I thought.
20:18 pm – David Weir: I thought first half we didn’t. Without naming names, there were reasons for that in terms of performances. That got better in the second half. A lot of what we worked on has been from the back to front, the front is the majority of work at the moment.
Scoring goals is always the hardest bit, that is the difference, it wins you games.. but we need to make a platform to create them chances to score. We’ll get there, I genuinely believe that. It will become better with time.
It soon hits home there are points up for grabs. I’ve spent my career doing that. There is a pressure of being at a big club at a lower division, it’s one you’ve got to enjoy… I enjoy that challenge I really do, I’ve enjoyed every day so far.
20:20 pm – Question from the floor: How are you planning to approach the Johnstones Paint Trophy?
20:20 pm – David Weir: Trying to get a balance, there are various rules on what you can do in terms of rotation. We’ll manage it depending on how things are going at the time.
It’s all about how we can win the game, I don’t want a big squad with those far away from the team. I want players motivated and close to playing.
20:22 pm – Question from the floor: I know the ethos is passing, but especially Burton, the defence had a tenancy to over elaborate putting pressure on themselves. Your thoughts?
20:24 pm – David Weir: It’s something we’ve discussed, we want to play out, but only when it’s on. I don’t want to kick the ball away, but there are ways and means. If it’s not on, we don’t do it, but don’t just get rid.
I made a career on booting the ball into the stand, but there is a time and a place for that. We give them the responsibility on that. There will be instances where passing will cost us goals, but it’ll create us more than it’ll cost us.
20:25 pm – Question from the floor: Do you have any restriction on us watching training?
20:26 pm – David Weir: I’m more than happy other than when we are working specifically on the game. Not to stop Blades fans, but because we don’t want others looking at that for obvious reasons.
20:26 pm – Question from the floor: You’ve played for Walter Smith and David Moyes, who has influenced you the most and why?
20:27 pm – David Weir: That’s a tough one. They are both very different. Walter managed people really well as well as the other side. He was more than capable on the coaching field. Moyes was all about the coaching, all about attention to detail, information and football.
They’ve both really influenced me, but in different ways. Other managers have influenced me, but all managers influence in different ways, even if it’s showing you what not to do. The one thing I think is the way forward is being your own man, not emulating someone else, but doing something because you think and know it is right.
20:29 pm – Question from the floor: Everton and Rangers, I perceive, them to be fairly direct. What’s your thoughts?
20:30 pm – David Weir: At Rangers, it was all about simply winning, nothing else. Everton have been a fantastic football team, but they don’t necessarily get credit for it. They’ve got a stereotype for working hard, but they have players that would get into any team.
20:30 pm – Question from the floor: Did you contact those from Everton with a Blades connection about taking the job?
20:32 pm – David Weir: To be honest I did it afterwards. If you’ve got to go and ask someone about a decision like that, you’ve got a problem. I made it off my own back, then spoke to them about their thoughts after I’d joined up.
20:33 pm – Question from the floor: What’s the best advice you’ve been offered or taken?
20:33 pm – David Weir: Be yourself, take advice on board, ask opinions but you’ve got to be yourself, make your own decisions and go with what you believe in. If you have to ask others, you’ve got problems.
20:36 pm – JG speaks to DW about his family connection with the Blades, his Uncle – Graeme Crawford, Hodgy’s understudy whose Blades programmes he used to read as a child. DW says he still keeps in touch with people down here now, “he comes over to games now and again, which is even better”.
20:38 pm – Question from the floor: Do you see this as a stepping stone or a chance of becoming a legend at the Lane?
20:39 pm – David Weir: I don’t see it as a stepping stone. You don’t want to talk too far ahead or get ahead of yourself, but I genuinely think this is the sort of club where I can achieve the success. You can never say never in football, but this club is one that can do it.
20:39 pm – Question from the floor: Agents, can we do without them?
20:41 pm – David Weir: I think we’ve gone too far to live without them. There are good agents and bad agents, the player has got to employ the right one at the end of the day. There are good and bad and you can find out a bit about the player by the agent he has. With the money in the game, it’ll be very difficult to see them gone from the game. You have to rely on the player to have the correct influences.
It is a minefield and I feel sorry for the young lads these days, who get targeted and tied up from a young age by people looking to sweep up as many as possible.
20:42 pm – Question from the floor: Which month are we going to get promoted as champions?
20:43 pm – David Weir: There’s the aim obviously and it needs to happen as soon as possible. But we’ve got to be realistic and do it the right way instead of one step forward and two back.
20:44 pm – Question from the floor: What’s your working hours? would you fine players for lateness or other aspects?
20:45 pm – David Weir: 10 to 8 while half 5 today, if I hadn’t have been here I’d have gone to Salford for Man U v. Liverpool.
Lee Carsley is the first in, he’s an early starter, but training starts at 11am. It depends what we are doing in the day.
We’ve moved the lot to the lower building. It’s an obvious thing for me. I came to train as a player, I got an idea for the place, in hindsight this was a great thing for me. First team were in the top building, academy and youths in the bottom building.
First team players would come in and have no interaction with the younger players, there’s a canteen that we’ve made a place they can spend time, the gym and activation stuff.
The whole day involves round the same building now, they eat, chat etc. The academy can see them, get a relationship, feed off them and see the pathway to the first team.
You see the young ones coming in doing their sessions, they need to see the first team have been there and what they do and that it’s not that far away for them.
I couldn’t get my head round players not coming in the front door on a match day. They come in earlier, around 12pm, they eat together here and then we might watch TV, we watched Leeds on Saturday before the team meeting. It’s a better environment, long term you develop better relationships and bonds which give you a better chance of being more successful.
20:52 pm – JG talks about greater accessibility noticed with the players after match with sponsors and fans etc.20:53 pm –
David Weir: It’s trying to do the very basics right, getting good habits. Why not stick around interact with fans/sponsors and eat right after the match rather than rushing to your car and going home?
20:54 pm – Question from the floor: The dugout, I always think you can’t see the game properly from there. Someone sat higher up might see more, what are your thoughts on that?
Also, what do you think to pink boots and yellow boots?
20:55 pm – David Weir: They can wear whatever boots they want as long as they do the job. It’s the player that makes the boots, not the boots that make the player. I wore white boots towards the end which I thought gave me another half a yard, I needed more than that, but there you go.
I want to be close to the team, I want to be on the pitch at times, so I want to be close to the boys. We had the video analyst up there, which give me video from on high and on Saturday there was Chris Morgan who wanted to watch us and Nick Cox.
20:58 pm – Question from the floor: I look at a side when they are lining up, it’s happened in previous times. I look at height in particular, we aren’t imposing. At certain times, you need people who can dominate, other sides have done it to us. Do physical sides made any difference in your opinion?
20:59 pm – David Weir: It plays a part, but it can’t be the most important thing. There are more important attributes. Within the team you have to have an element, but it’s a fine line. Obviously if you’ve got a good player who is big and a good one who is smaller, I’d go for the bigger.
20:00 pm – The Handsworth Blades present the gaffer with a polo shirt and make him an honorary member.
20:01 pm – JG wraps up and thanks everyone from the football club
Many of you will want to proffer your opinions and debate the evening with fellow Blades; you’ll be in good company on our forum – http://www.s24su.com/forum – where you can set the world to rights 24 hours a day.