FC Halifax Town: This is no free shot for me, insists Young

Neil Young. Picture: The Leader
Neil Young. Picture: The Leader

Caretaker-manager Neil Young insists his interim spell in charge is not a “free shot” for him.

The former Chester manager took charge of training on Thursday and was due to be at the helm for Saturday’s home game with Dagenham and Redbridge, which was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

It is unclear how long Young will be in temporary charge following Billy Heath’s departure on Wednesday, but he is expected to still be in the position for the trip to Wrexham next Saturday.

Asked if he thought it was a blessing in disguise that Saturday’s game was called off, Young said: “Not for me, no. I thought we had a good vibe.

“I’m not one of these people who believe ‘you’ve got a free shot at it’. People might say ‘nothing’s expected of you’ but I have a lot of expectations of myself. I’m not somebody’s who’s not done the job before or who is wet behind the ears.

“I’ve managed successfully at Chester, I would say partly successfully at Stockport.

“I know I’ve inherited a group of players who, because I know what Bill’s teams are like, will run through brick walls for you, so the attitude was never going to be a problem.

“But when you’re training Thursday nights there’s not a lot I can change in a couple of hours.

“We had ideas to tweak a few things and see what that would trigger. And sometimes just a different voice in any environment does the trick.

“I’ve been in Bill’s situation where you’re not getting results and it is difficult. But I came to The Shay on Saturday revved up to play the game.

“I believe in my own ability. People might think there’s no pressure on me, but I disagree. When you’ve been a manager you know what three points is all about and what the expectations of the fans is about, so it’s important you do your homework, you prepare properly and then on Saturday, you try and win a game of football.

“Whether I’m here for one game, two games or whatever, it’s not a free shot.”

Young, who also works as Town’s Head of Scouting, has installed former Tranmere and Nottingham Forest striker Gary Jones as his assistant.

“Gary’s my best friend. He’s been with me from Colwyn Bay, then to Chester, where we had unprecedented success in a short space of time, and he’s been with me ever since,” Young said.

“He’s a very good A licence coach, very honest guy, knows his stuff.

“If we’re here on Saturday he’ll be in the dugout with me.”

Saturday’s postponement was the final twist in a tumultuous week for The Shaymen, and for Young.

“It’s been a difficult week,” he admitted. “It’s always sad when someone loses their job in any walk of life, particularly someone you have a lot of respect for.

“That’s the way the industry works. Billy and myself have both been around a long time, both worked our way up through the lower leagues.

“I was going to a game on Wednesday evening and I got a phone call from David telling me the news and asking if I could take training the next night.

“I’ve had to do a lot of work since Thursday. In the role I’m in I don’t get to see the team as much as other people, but I watch the highlights regularly.

“The players came in on Thursday - although it would’ve been quicker to get to Spain than Halifax from where I live!

“I had my assistant Gary Jones with me and we had a good session, the lads were fantastic. They worked really hard.

“Since then I’ve been doing a lot of homework on Dagenham, all day Friday and again Saturday morning. But now my thoughts will move to Wrexham.”

Asked what he had said to the players upon their arrival at training on Thursday, Young replied: “There’s not a lot you can say. It’s difficult. I’ve been on the other side where I’ve left a club and somebody’s had to come in.

“It’s difficult walking into a dressing room of players who - apart from Cliff Moyo - I’ve never worked with before.

“That’s where your day job comes into it in terms of speaking to people, but the lads were great.

“It’s the first time I’ve had to go into a dressing room mid-season.

“We’ve got a good squad of players, but from what I’ve seen they’re lacking a lot of confidence.

“When you lose confidence - it doesn’t matter if you’re on £10 a week or £100,000 - we’re human beings and we all lose confidence.

“I’ve been out of confidence as a manager and you question yourself. I think there’s an element of that, but we’re trying to build that up.

“There are things I can see from afar - which is dead easy when you’re sitting up in the stands - that we’ve tried to tweak.”