Boss knows better than most how long it takes a player to settle
It is nearly 25 years ago now, but Alan Knill recalled it this week as if it was only yesterday.
With a little help from his better half, of course.
The subject was inconsistency, and more specifically the difficulty that some players have in hitting top form immediately after a transfer.
“The people who speak the most sense are often women,” said Knill, “and it was my wife who mentioned this business of moving a long way the other day.
Fantastic offer at Swanson Ford, Newton Abbot. 3 Years FREE Servicing and 5 Years Warranty available on your BRAND NEW FORD FIESTA with the AWARD WINNING ECOBOOST ENGINE!!!
Terms: Limited stock available. Only whilst stock lasts
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Tuesday, December 24 2013
“Everybody wants things to be perfect right away, but a bedding-in time is essential – as I remember well.
“I went from Swansea to Bury , and I was rubbish for about three months.
“I think they paid a record fee for me at the time, so all sorts of things were expected, and I was costing goals all over the place.
“You try so hard that nothing comes off.
“The players you’re playing with are new and, when you’re going from one part of the country to another, there’s a whole lot more to take in.
“You’re trying to get your family settled in, it’s probably holiday time when you move and there’s the kids to get into new schools.
“It’s different if you’re a single lad, but if you’re a family man it’s more difficult.
“The manager at Bury, Sam Ellis, was a defender himself, so there was even more pressure for me. It took three months – it might even have been a bit longer – for me to get going, and I think some people there wondered if they’d made a mistake.
“Then all of a sudden you become more comfortable with where you are, and you maybe even relax a bit.
“It worked out in the end at Bury. I had a good game one day, scored a goal and it got me going. I think we ended up in the play-offs that year.”
Knill went on to a long and successful career that even included an international cap for Wales, before turning to coaching and management.
Right-back Dale Tonge, midfielder Ben Harding and striker Karl Hawley are among the older players who have arrived at Plainmoor this season, with Krystian Pearce, Jordan Chapell, Courtney Cameron and loan signing Callum Ball forming the younger brigade.
They have hit the ground running at different speeds. Of course, the quicker they all find top gear, the better, but, as Knill says: “Everybody wants it right now.”
That is truer in 2013 than a quarter of a century ago.