BEN WILLIAMS has revealed Pat Fenlon’s straight-talking style helped persuade him to join the Hibs manager’s Easter Road revolution.
Rather than try to pull the wool over the goalkeeper’s eyes, Fenlon was brutally frank, telling Williams his team wasn’t good enough before laying bare his plans to turn the Edinburgh club around.
Although hugely taken by Hibs’ East Mains training ground and the stadium, the 30-year-old was just as impressed by Fenlon’s honesty ahead of agreeing a two-year deal which saw him switch from English League One outfit Colchester United to the Capital.
The former Manchester United trainee, pictured, said: “The manager was brutally honest with me. It’s what I wanted and asked for. He laid out what he was going to be doing, releasing who he’d like to release and bringing in quality players.
“A top-six finish was what we were striving for. There had been 18 months to two years of under-achieving. Everyone says the facilities are great, which they are.
“The stadium is fantastic, the fans are great and the training ground is great. But if your 11 on the pitch isn’t performing it doesn’t matter – you could be playing anywhere.
“That’s what he said to me, he made his point very clear and it has stood me in good stead with him. I’ve spoken to managers in the past that have explained everything they want to do and told me where they’re going to finish in the league to the exact position.
“That’s their opinion and then you do your own due diligence and decide whether you have a chance with that. After I spoke to the manager I came away and I thought we’ve got a fantastic opportunity to push the club on, improve things on the pitch and just be difficult to beat, which we have done – we’ve lost one in seven.”
Having spoken to Fenlon, Williams admitted he did carry out his own checks on Hibs but it was Fenlon’s honesty which struck him most. Asked what made Fenlon’s chat different to that of other managers, he said: “When someone genuinely believes what they’re telling you is the truth, and you can tell from them what they are telling you is the truth, it’s totally raw.
“There’s not many managers you’d walk in and ask what’s going to happen and they turn round and give you an honest and frank opinion that the team isn’t good enough. A lot would gloss over it. I could tell straight away he had the right idea and was the man with the plan.”
Williams, pictured, revealed his own “homework” underlined what Fenlon had told him. He said: “When the Hibs thing came up, I had to do my own due diligence and then come up with the decision I needed to make.
“You ask people in and around Scottish football and they’ll say the same things that I’ve just said about the facilities being fantastic and the team underperforming.
“I speak to my agent, he has people he can speak to. He’s got Scottish players he can phone and ask their honest opinion. That’s the way we do things. Football should be done that way, honestly.”
Meanwhile, Williams admitted Hibs were heading for Aberdeen today still angry with themselves for passing up the chance to be doing so as SPL leaders having surrendered a two-goal lead to Inverness Caledonian Thistle last weekend, even if they managed to stretch their unbeaten SPL run to six matches.
He said: “The lads were disappointed that we’d only drawn and had given away a two-goal lead after how well we’d performed in the first half.
“It just goes to prove that we are still a work in progress. If you look at Caley’s results they’ve drawn five and lost two.
“They are a dogged team and are going to put in performances until the last minute.
“It’s just a shame we couldn’t hold on. But we are going the right way, if you are williing to roll your sleeves up and put the hard work in, it will pay off.”