PETER FREUND ON... (PART 2)
Here is Part Two of the interview I had with Peter Freund and unexpectedly Craig Unger (what he said will be in italics). This part will cover:
- Will the owners effectively buy their way out of the league if that is what it takes?
- Thoughts on aiding supporters coach travel
- Transatlantic connections between Memphis and Dagenham
- Craig’s thoughts on loan players and why there aren’t many Americans in English football.
- New home kit colours
- Likelihood of an academy... and more!
Away attendance is also important but many are put off by the prices alone. Would you consider aiding the supporters coach financially - to increase away attendances?
I think we could do it on the basis on where you select a couple of matches?
Yes, I think that is a good suggestion because doing it across the board for all matches would be difficult. Maybe we could do it for certain rivalries to get as many supporters to those bigger games - that would make some sense. We will take that under your advisory.
You mentioned West Ham earlier on and the hope of strengthening connections so would you look at loaning young players from them when we get to the football league?
Yes, well we look everywhere that is really the truth so any club who is willing to help us with players, Peter Taylor and his staff are constantly talking to. These clubs aren’t just West Ham they are a lot of Championship sides and Premiership sides who need to get their players playing. It’s something that we think is probably part of the mix however the problem with loan players is you don’t control them and you are trying to develop your own squad - they can be recalled which is disruptive. So there are issues with it but it is definitely something we talk about.
Would you think about setting up an academy? If not would you look at recruiting from local clubs like Hornchurch?
Not yet! We have a lot of work to do here but maybe - I presume you would be interested. Yes, I suppose we would look at recruiting from local clubs - Craig what’s your thoughts on academies?
In the UK I think they are valuable because you can grow as a team from a young age. I know we had one before but someday maybe, yeah, it could be something we look into.
But the trouble is these days you have your West Ham(s) who have a lot a money like lots of other clubs who will come in for players and effectively steal them. So after we’ve spent all the time developing them they just get stolen - it’s frustrating!
How about the transatlantic connection - would you look at bringing Memphis players over?
Maybe some day, but to be honest I doubt they would make the team - I hope that doesn’t get back to them! I think the hard part is, is because of the amount of international spots allowed in the squad and getting work visas. Even in the US we are only allowed eight international spots in our roster and I think for an international player to come over it is a complicated process.
It is even more complicated for a foreign born player to play in England than it is for an English player to go to the US. This is because here you have to show you are a master at your craft and that is why you only see a handful of Americans playing in the Premier League. That is why it is even more difficult to get work permits for players the lower down you go in the football pyramid.
What is the likelihood of a Dagenham tour of the US?
We have been talking about it and there has been activity so it may happen at some point that Memphis and Dagenham play each other but the problem is the seasons. Our season is coming to a close in the United States because we play our summer whereas here it is obviously just starting as you play through winter. It is really tricky because Memphis’ pre season is in February so we have talked about them coming over for a friendly but that is the heart of The Daggers’ season. So we just don’t know.
In the short term, on getting promoted how long will you wait and would you look at effectively buying your way out the league?
So, the answer is yes, we are going to add whatever we need to this year and it is important we make the playoffs. Well, winning the league that is obviously very hard but I did think Salford and Orient were the best teams last year and they deserved to go up. I was reminded that this club finished in the last play off spot when they got promoted so you never know but we will absolutely continue to look at the squad. This is not a finished squad yet I think we have ten points from seven matches - we may need to improve on that. I came over and expected to see four points from two matches with a win at home because a point on the road and win at home - that is what I was taught.
So does the start of the season bother you as long as we pick up points looking ahead? Also what do you feel about the depth of the squad - do you have a limit?
Yeah, well look we need more wins, we need to average a point a half and we are not doing that. In terms of the depth of the squad what do we have now 21?
Yeah, so I don’t have a limit but we don’t want the squad becoming too big - currently I’m comfortable with the size of the squad. Maybe if a couple of players come in then one may leave. Also there may be injuries like Chike Kandi is injured - that’s a disappointment because he is one of my favourite players and one of my favourite names as well!
Who is your favourite player?
I don’t have a favourite player; as an owner I can’t. However, I think Mitch Brundle has been great as he has brought a lot of leadership to the team and with Kenny it’s like having two generals out there.
Did you want to spread goals throughout the team when recruiting for players?
Yeah, I don’t know, when we are recruiting for players we are just trying to find the best player in every position. I think we are strong in the middle and at the back; that was important to really solidify the team but we don’t have a prolific goalscorer. We’ve got Angelo Balanta who will get you a few goals and we have a couple of good goal-scorers but we haven’t got a Harry Kane.
Will the home kit next year have more traditional colours - red and blue?
Yes, good question. The move to Nike was very important to us, Tim Howard is a Nike athlete and Memphis is Nike so we felt like it elevated everything if we moved. Unfortunately for us there was no red and blue kit available because of the timing and we needed to get a bespoke red and blue done - there just wasn’t the time. But we will have that next season and our current home kit is likely to be our away kit but we love this kit and think it came out really nice.