Tudors boss Dean Brennan speaks to Marc Willmore about the club’s plans for next season as they head into the Conference South.
> At what point at the end of last season did you take time to reflect on the success of winning the Southern League Premier Division championship?
I haven’t, honestly I haven’t! We played excellently to win the title at Hungerford and that went on to be an amazing night. It went on to become an excelling weekend as we then beat Chesham on the Monday. I’ve not looked back though, I’m focussed on next season and choosing our new targets.
> Do you and Stuart think there’s anything you could’ve done differently in 2013/14?
No, we do that each week on a game by game basis. We speak after each game, usually we’re on the phone to each other all day Sunday and discuss how we can improve. That’s how we work, we don’t look back at entire seasons and reflect.
> Of all the targets you set at the start of last season, such as amount of points, goals to concede, goals to score etc – the team seem to have achieved them all, breaking records on the say – what do you think was the most positive target to have hit?
The defensive record. Just look at the end of season awards – Players’ Player of the Year was Dan Talbot, a defensive midfielder; Managers Player was Kieran Murphy, a centre half; Young Player of the Year was left-back Kyle Connolly; Laurie Walker in goal smashed the record for clean sheets.
Take away the final game of the season and our defensive record was phenomenal. If you compare our game to the previous season, we’ve changed to playing mostly defensively, aiming to win the ball back quickly whenever we lose possession.
The other targets, well the lads laughed at me when I said we’re aiming for 100 goals and 100 points – we got there though.
> You picked Kieran Murphy as your player of the year, but is there anyone else in your squad you exceeded your expectations last season?
Not really. Exceeded? Honestly, no. I watched Laurie Walker once before signing him and knew straight away he was the keeper for me and that he’d do well.
I watched Kieran Murphy once and thought his organisation at the back was fantastic so I had to have him. Ollie Thorne I’ve always rated, Ben Mackey I thought was just a poacher but there’s so much more to his game.
Lewis Toomey – when I saw him play for St Albans City I thought his finishing was devastating, he just knows where the goal is, I couldn’t believe Hemel had previously let him go. He’s probably our team’s unsung hero.
David King worked hard, Jordan Parkes has been brilliant, Dan Talbot has had a great season. I could go on and on and on about the whole squad, I thought they’d do well and they did, but now it’s all about next season.
> Last season we used very few players in our squad in comparison to previous seasons. Was that deliberate or was it just a case of you having to make do with the players available to you?
It was deliberate. Me and Stuart got the job in the summer of 2012 and by that time a lot of our targets had committed elsewhere, so we had to work harder on recruitment.
Going in to the start of the season just gone, we’d been recruiting all throughout the previous season and by the summer of 2013 had assembled the squad we wanted aside from a few players.
We missed out on a couple of players we wanted, but the players we brought in were successful. Going in to this summer we had four targets – we’ve already secured two of them by signing Wes Daly and James Potton.
> Is there much the current squad needs to do, to adapt to life in the Conference South?
I previously played at this level at Grays Athletic with Gary Hooper, Freddie Eastwood, Mitchell Cole god rest his soul. I was amongst top players, some of whom went on to make very good careers in football.
Footballers need opportunities to show their abilities, I’ve assembled a squad of players who I believe have a football brain and are confident, now they have an opportunity to prove themselves at a better level.
> When will you and Stuart sit down and decide on your targets for next season?
We’ve already decided. A week after the season ended I told the players, so they already know and when we get back together for pre-season training
I’ll tell them again and go through individual targets. I’ve got six players with a target of scoring double figures – not just the forwards. I’ve set the wide players realistic goal scoring targets too.
> Will you bring in a new goalkeeping coach?
Well Gary Levy is staying but I’m looking to bring in an understudy to him.
> How hands-on will you be with the new development squad next season?
I’ll watch every game – they’ll play on Wednesdays. They’ve got a game on June 28; Steve Boone will manage the side with Danny Hutchins, a young coach with a good CV, as his assistant.
I’ll be there watching lads coming in on trial; if I feel like any are good enough for the first team then I’ll have them training with us. I’ll mix up the teams a bit for the pre-season schedule.
> What would your message be to local fans and the community in general in regards to helping the club continue to develop and grow?
Spread the word about the philosophy of our club. It’s up to us as a squad to provide the entertainment, winning matches and winning league titles obviously helps as then everyone wants to get involved.
But the way we play, we’re smashing records at the moment, so spread the word and bring your mates along to games!
Vauxhall Road has become an exciting place, there’s a great vibe around the place, and you can come in and chat to the players after the game.
The vibe comes from everyone sticking together and being positive. The club is growing, the new stand will go up this season, the pitch looks like it’ll be in better condition and the new development squad is a massive part of growing in to becoming a successful football club – we can go on to produce young stars.