Today John Ward took up the post of Director of Football at Bristol Rovers, with Darrell Clarke stepping up to become First Team Manager. Here is a sample of what they both had to say about their new roles.
John Ward: “Once we had completed the job last season I was going to move on again and see if I could find a director of football position.
“But I stayed here as the manager on the proviso that we could bring someone in at the beginning of the season who would be ready to take over in the management role as and when we all felt it was right to do so.
“Now we think the time is a good one, simply because it gives Darrell time to make his moves into the playing squad, but also consider his moves for the close season. It was very important everything was not left until the end of the season.”
And John will be supporting Darrell, but plans to stay in the background.
He said: “He has his own ideas about the playing staff and what is required and what is required for the close season bringing in players.
“I will stay off the bench tomorrow, but I will be there supporting the guys and I will be there for half time as and when they want me.
“It is now not about me at all, it is about Darrell and the football team, and that is how it should be for these next eight games.”
John is looking forward to the variation of his new role.
He said: “It will give me scope to go and work a little closer with the youth department, I can get involved with the school boys and get out scouting.
“I can get involved with the new stadium, and what is needed there for the football department. All those bits and pieces that are exceptionally time consuming for one person.
“At the same time I don’t want to put my boots in a bag and not get out on the training ground as well.”
Darrell Clarke: “This is a great opportunity for me to move the club forward.
“I am a confident lad without being over confident, everybody has a way they think the game should be played and I have my philosophy.
“I am pretty strong minded, and I am looking forward to being the one picking the team. I say as it is, that is the way I have always worked. If players don’t like that then they have got to deal with it.”
Darrell knows that the players have been underperforming, and will be demanding more from them.
He said: “I want to build a winning mentality throughout the club, and make sure players do what I ask of them.
“We have a good set of lads who are underperforming at the moment.
“I am my own my and I back myself. I am going to be making the decisions, and it is my head on the chopping block.
“The lads have been fantastic this morning on the training ground, and they been fantastic with me while I have been at the football club, but we need more from them – not just on match day but every single day in training.
“I work differently to how John works, and it was important to get across the players the way I work.”
And Darrell wants to be able to give something back to the fans.
He said: “We have eight games to secure our league status and we have not got time to look at players feeling sorry for themselves.
“We have got to make sure we get over the line and start building for the future.
“The fans have been fantastic and the support has been unbelievable this season, and being honest I am not sure we deserve the support they have given us.
“Now what is important is we give something back, we have to give them something to cheer about, it is important we get them fully behind us through our performances on the pitch.”