Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has returned from what he's described as a "very positive" visit to India to meet with the club's Owners.
We caught up with the boss on his return to East Lancashire to discuss the trip and current situation at the club, as well as potential signings and plans for the future.
Scroll down to read the first half of the Q&A...
Firstly Tony, how beneficial and productive was your recent trip to India?
“It was very positive. We were given a lot of time and had lots of meetings with the Owners, lots of discussions in detail. I went with the CEO (Steve Waggott), the Club Secretary (Ian Silvester), the Finance Director (Mike Cheston) and, from the football side, the positive for me is that the support is there. The Owners are happy with the success of this season and are looking for continuity and stability. We spoke about trying to grow from here and doing so properly, doing it with thought and consideration. Recruitment is really important and, if the right players come along, we’ll look to build. We’ll also look to promote some of the young players we’ve got coming through. It was really positive; continuity and stability are the main messages, we want to become a solid team that could cause a lot of teams problems in the Championship. We don’t want to get carried away, I want to be positive and give the team a chance. Football is a competitive sport and there are a lot of big clubs in the Championship, some with big parachute payments, but I’m looking forward to it. I feel excited after the trip.”
How important was it to you to speak with the Owners in person?
“It was very important. I think that as an individual and as a human, it’s important that they feel my personality and the qualities that I try to bring to this job. I’d have to say that I feel they have similar human qualities, I find them very humble, considerate and family-orientated people. They see this football club as being like a family. We have a base to build from and a respect for each other. I just wanted to get across the point that as a manager I’ll work every hour that God sends and give everything I’ve got; there will be times when we win three or four on the bounce and times when we lose games, so we need that support and I felt that pretty strongly. We understand that we’re in a competitive industry and sometimes there are ups and downs but you have to ride those waves. It was important to see them face-to-face and let them feel my personality.”
And although the Owners are a long way away, they’ve been following the fortunes of the club very closely…
“Very much so. They are very well versed with the players and our fortunes this season. They do follow things very closely and that’s assuring, really. Some might think they don’t really care or know what’s going on, but they do. There are a lot of positives that came out of this trip for me and I learned a lot. The Owners care about the club, the people and the town and I feel it’s a shame that they haven’t felt like they’ve been able to come back for a while. I hope that we can continue to build bridges and get stronger, and I think it’s better to do so bit by bit. We shouldn’t think we can turn into a powerhouse overnight; we’ve got a really good core of footballers, some fantastic people, and that’s a great place to build from. I want to be successful for the Owners, they’re good people who invest a lot of money. They help the town and we need to try to build a team. I also want to personally thank all of the staff at the club. Those who I’ve worked really closely with have been fantastic, the likes of Mark Venus – who’s had a tough time away from the job - David Lowe and Ben Benson, for example. I also want to congratulate the Under-23s on a great campaign. It’s been a great season for the club.”
Look out for part two of the Q&A on Thursday (24th May).
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