FC Halifax Town: “I’m really excited about the people we’re talking to” says Wild on potential new signings
Town boss Pete Wild says he is excited about the potential signings the club is working on.
The Shaymen are yet to announce any new signings since the end of the season, and have seen prized-assets Jeff King and Jack Earing leave the club.
Wild is calling for patience from the Halifax supporters as work continues behind-the-scenes in an effort to build next season’s squad.
“It’s a slow process, we have to take our time with these things, you have to get these things right and we have to understand that some people will accept what is on offer, some people will want to dwell on what’s on offer and some people are happy to stay,” said Wild.
“That’s life at lower league level, I’m really relaxed with where we are and I’m really excited about the people we’re talking to.”
Wild had previously said out-of-contract players would have around seven-to-ten days to accept what was on offer from the club.
“We’re at the end of that now, and hopefully there’ll be some good news over the next seven days on people who have re-signed for the club,” he said.
“We have to appreciate that players we’ve made offers to have a set period of time in which they need to accept or decline before we move on.
“That’s over now but after that, you have to go through the contracts, which doesn’t happen overnight, there’s a lot of toing and froing that goes with even the simplest of contracts.
“I can assure you everyone at the football club is working as hard as they can, no one is having time off I can promise you!
“It all takes time. I appreciate you only hear the bad news stories because they’re easier to put out, people want to hear the good news stories but they take time because you have to get the contracts right, and that’s what takes a little bit of time.”
Wild says it has been a very busy time for him since the end of the previous campiagn.
“It’s probably been the busiest summer I’ve had in terms of having to do things, having to try and keep deals where they need to be, it’s been very, very busy,” he said.
“But that’s the job. People think in the summer the managers go on holiday and sit there with a pina colada, but that’s certainly not the case here, we’re working ever so hard to make sure the football offer we’re putting on the table to players is better than the offer was last year.
“We’re confident we’re doing the right things and we’re looking forward to another successful season.”
Wild added: “It’s like a roadshow, you’re like a salesman, selling the offer, but we think we’re getting a really good name for ourselves in terms of our football offer, people know if they come to Halifax, the football offer is solid and that the coaches deliver on it, which is probably getting us in-front of people that maybe wouldn’t want to speak to us in any other sense.”
The Town boss said he is looking to work with a squad of 20, or 21 at the most, next season.
“Matt Stenson obviously comes into that,” he said. “I don’t like a soccer school, I like all players to be in danger of playing and in danger of not playing.”
On discussions with potential new signings, the Town manager said: “There’s a few that are ongoing, me and Chris had another really productive meeting with the chairman on Tuesday, and we’re confident that we’re putting the right deals in-front of the right people again.
“The chairman’s been phenomenal in his support in probably the toughest time of his tenure as chairman, he’s been phenomenally supportive.
“He gives us his full attention and he tries to help us in any way he can financially, and tries to assist us in some deals that need a bit more work and his expertise helps get it over the line.”
When asked if he was confident he would secure his first choice targets, Wild said: “We’re hopeful, don’t get me wrong, in terms of finances in this league, I am getting blown away on a daily basis with what clubs are offering players.
“I think I spit my coffee out every morning when I get a text, phone call or e-mail and just laugh, I speak to the chairman and he just goes ‘wow’.
“So the richer and getting richer, which makes it even more important that our football offer is as good as it can be, and if we get our football offer right, we’ve always got a chance.”
Wild added: “We will be competitive again. The first season, that team did well, last season that team did well, and we’re looking now to build another squad that hopefully can challenge and do well.”
The Town boss says he will be working with the same playing budget from last season.
“The budget doesn’t change, which again is where the chairman deserves immense credit, in these times when there haven’t been many finances coming into the club for 14 months, he’s been able to offer me the same budget,” he said.
“I know teams in our league that have had to work on reduced budgets, don’t get me wrong, he’s not saying I can go and spend the whole budget straight away, there are permutations within that where we’ll have to be careful until we get some money back through the door.
“So we’re round about where we have been but that will slowly come out and it’s important I spend it wisely and not all at once.”
And Wild is hopeful pre-season will begin on July 19 with a completed squad.
“That’s the hope, because we’ve got five weeks to make them dance,” he said.
“That’s our target, to make sure the squad’s in place. There may be one or two spaces for whatever reason, but we hope to have the majority of the squad ready for the first day of pre-season.”
Town are looking at loan deals as well as permanent signings, but Wild doesn’t expect any loans to happen soon. “We’re working in both markets,” he said. “The loan market’s a bit tougher at the moment because nobody’s back for pre-season yet, and generally the words you get are ‘let’s see how he does pre-season and we’ll decide what we do with him’.
“We have got three or four targets that we would like to do if they were available for loan, but the answer generally at this time of year is ‘we’ll see’.”
There will also be trialists among the Town squad, among which Wild hopes will be some hidden gems.
“We’ve got some trialists confirmed to come in for pre-season, as probably every club has, and it’s important that process goes on, not only for the squad rotation in the friendlies but also to give people opportunities to show what they’ve got,” he said.
“That’s where I feel the bargains are to be had.”
One player Town won’t be bringing back is former Stockport forward Nyal Bell.
“We had Nyal last year and he’s a good young player,” Wild said.
“He’s not somebody that we’ve been talking to.
“He did great when he came to the club and I’m sure he’ll get himself sorted sooner rather than later and crack on with his career.”
On the departures of King and Earing, the Town boss said: “The offers the two lads have had far and away outweigh what we could provide.
“We have to look ourselves in the mirror with every deal and say to ourselves ‘did we give the best deal to that player as possible?’ and I believe in both cases, we did.
“But the deals the two lads were offered, and you chuck in with Jack Earing the fact that it’s a Football League offer, then we have to concede that we’ve done everything we can.
“I think the most pleasing thing for me, Chris and Joe is that we’ve made both players better, they’ve been very complementary of us when they’ve left about how much we’ve developed them and we have to be pleased that we’ve helped their development, the club’s helped their development, and now they move onto the next stage in their career.
“We have to be pleased for them that they’re able to do that. I take a lot of satisfaction in that, and my comment to Chris when they both went was ‘where’s the next two young players we can develop?’ of which we’ve got many in the building, and hopefully there’s another couple of gems come out of that and they move on, and this club continues its tradition of making players and them moving on.
“I think we should take as much pride in that as we do in anything else.”
Wild says he is positive about the recruitment process at the club.
“One thing I think we got right last year was recruitment, I thought we recruited really well, so we’ve not a track record of recruiting well and I think we’ve earned the right to be trusted to recruit well again,” he said.
“This time of the year, when things go quiet, people build their own narratives that suit their own arguments, but we just have to be patient, and when the deals are done they’ll be announced.
“It’s not a case of we’re hiding deals or we’re slowing the process down. The chairman’s been unbelievably supportive, he trusts us to make the right decisions, and because we’ve got that trust between manager and chairman, I feel that this process is a relaxed process.
“I think we’re talking to the right people again and I’m excited about who we can bring in, how we can develop the team and how we’ll set the team up to play next season.”
There have been calls for the number of substitutes in the National League to be increased to seven next season, an idea which Wild supports.
“It needs to happen as soon as possible,” he said.
“It was mooted at the manager’s pre-season meeting last year, not enough managers supported it.
“I think some of the clubs with the lesser budgets in the league would try and stop it because if you think about overnight stays, costs go up with two more subs, I get that.
“But I will always put a sub keeper on the bench, some people have their own view on that, but that time you need a sub keeper - I use Maidenhead as an example when they were playing Notts County, it was 0-0, keeper goes off, they put one of their outfield players in net and they get beat 4-0 at home.
“I can’t afford for that to happen. You’re already restricted by having your sub keeper on the bench.
“We always worked in the Football League with seven subs, and if the National League’s looking to replicate the Football League in as many ways as possible, then for me, it’s a no-brainer and it should be happening.”
Town have announced five pre-season friendlies so far, and Wild would like one more to complete the schedule.
“That one’s become pretty difficult because of when it would be,” he said.
“We don’t have many opposition (to choose from) because the Conference North and South start on August 14, the Football League’s started by then, so the only teams left are under 23s. “I don’t really like playing teams from our league, so we’re working with a couple of under 23s, but their fixtures start on Monday, August 16, so if they play then, they’re not going to want to play us on the 14th.
“So that’s been difficult throughout, to try and get that sorted.
“But there’s some good friendlies in there, we’ve got a mixture, we tried to keep most of them as local as possible, although we’ll obviously have to travel a little bit further for Fylde and Carlisle.
“Because of the constraints of when rugby has their matches, it’s very difficult for us to pencil in home games, because rugby has autonomy when we’re not in season.
“We wanted to play at home on July 31 but we can’t because of rugby, so that’s why it’s been a late addition and Carlisle, thankfully, have agreed to play us, which I think will be a really good game for us.”
The Town boss added: “Pre-season’s up at the Brownlee Centre, we’ll do the testing the week before and then it’s all systems go. “We’re looking forward to another exciting season that hopefully doesn’t have any restrictions that my first two seasons had in terms of Covid or everything that was thrown at us in the first two seasons.
“I didn’t expect my tenure as a manager to start with the two seasons I’ve had in terms of the logistics so I’m hoping this season will just be a “normal” season.”