Why Thursday is ‘Dave’s Day’ at Ipswich Town
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town have, according to manager and players alike, their strongest squad in years. STUART WATSON spoke to director of football Dave Bowman about the secrets behind the recruitment process.
ON TEAM SPIRIT – ON AND OFF THE PITCH
BOWMAN: “Thursday is ‘Dave’s Day’ – that’s what the manager calls it.
“I live in the north east and get the train down every week, leaving my house at 4am and getting back about 11pm. I don’t always need to be here, but I always do because it’s better to deal with people face to face.
“When you talk scouts at other clubs they say they’ve never met the manager. Here, everyone is made to feel part of a close-knit team.
“Wherever the manager goes he has this rubbing off process where everyone buys into it and the place is alive. It sounds simple, but we just treat people how we’d like to be treated ourselves.”
ON PULLING IN THE SAME DIRECTION
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BOWMAN: “The owner (Marcus Evans) has backed us 100% in what we’ve done.
Ian Milne (managing director) has been especially helpful as well. When Mick goes to present a case to the owner they have always backed us to the level we think a player is worth.
“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do if everyone wasn’t all pulling in the same direction. There are a lot of people playing vital roles behind the scenes.
“Sally Webb (club secretary) does so much spadework, Sam Fellman is a young lad we’ve brought in to act as a scouting co-ordinator and to film the matches, then there are people like Andy Liddell (fitness coach), Mark Kennedy (Under-21 manager) and Malcolm Webster (keeper coach) whose experience we can tap in to when it comes to recruitment.”
BOWMAN: “I’ve done this job for years and I now have that database in my head for comparison. I can think of a current senior player and remember the strengths and weaknesses they had when I was watching them aged 15 or aged 21.
“I’ve got black books at home that go back years, with little things I’ve noted about young players. I’ve got notes I made on Wayne Rooney aged 13.”
ON USING TECHNOLOGY
MILES: “We use ‘Wyscout’. We’ve had it for about four years and it’s a system that agents also use. It’s a subscription service and there are about five or six different entry levels you can get. Most clubs have it these days, but it’s how you use it that’s key.
“When an agent sends a video showing their client’s highlights every player looks a world beater. What Wyscout does is enable you to dig a bit deeper than that.
“It’s bang up to date with virtually every player across the world and it breaks things down so you can watch different aspects of each individual’s game. There’s no hiding place there.”
BOWMAN: “It’s all very well a winger being quick and tricky, but we also want to see what his work rate, tackling and heading is like…”
MILES: “We want to see the bad as well as the good because that gives you a far better indication of the player. Once we’ve gone through that process, and it’s still looking promising, that’s when things progress further.”
ON BACKGROUND CHECKS
BOWMAN: “You go to all sorts of people you know in the game for character references because you don’t want any bad apples coming in to your football club. We do a lot of investigation.”
MILES: “I’ve done things like sit and watch back media interviews they’ve done in the past just to see what they’re like. You can pick little things up from things like body language.”
BOWMAN: “Agents are agents – there are good ones and bad ones, ones you can trust and ones you can’t trust.
“I like to keep in with every agent because you never know when there will be a player of theirs you might want to sign.
“They’ve all gone quiet now because they’re all away spending their commissions from the summer. From the middle of November it starts to hot up again though as they try and line their players up for a move in the next window.”