Q and A with Dalkeith Thistle’s new boss Kevin Haynes
Q1: Your move into the role as manager at Dalkeith Thistle has been brought forward by several months following the resignation of your colleague and former manager Willie Pearson. Firstly, congratulations on your appointment - how do feel about taking over now?
A: To be honest I’m quite nervous at the thought of being responsible for our squad, coaching staff and the results of our club. That nervousness will disappear come kick off on Saturday and will become a feeling of excitement and pride. I’m proud to have been asked to take over the running of the playing side of the club and will put everything into making it a successful time. Tommy Gilhooley and other committee members have trusted me to do a good job at the club and I don’t want to let anyone down.
Q2: I’m sure the Dalkeith Thistle supporters would like to hear about your passion for football and what style of play you enjoy - can you give us a hint of what to expect in the coming months?
A: I’d be going against the grain if I said I want a team who will sit and defend. Being a centre forward when I played I’d like to think I want an attacking team on the park, a team who works hard and wins the ball back from the opposition high up the park then creates attacking opportunities and looks to score goals. In my time at Dalkeith as a player, coach and assistant manager we’ve been fortunate in the attacking areas and more often than not we have always been able to score goals so I hope that continues.
Q3: What type of players are you looking to bring to the club and can you explain what gels teams together?
A: I want to bring committed players to the club, ones who can work with the existing guys who we already have. The players I bring will hopefully follow in the ambition of myself and the club. We have been in the Premier League for four seasons now and consolidated ourselves as a Premier League club. The ambition is to gain promotion to the Super League in the near future. A blend of experience and young players are essential to a successful team. When I joined the club five years ago along with the new assistant manager Andy (Dunny) Donlevy we were the experienced ones there and hopefully our help and experience brought success to the club and helped bring on the younger guys, like Michael Linton who was 21/ 22 years old at the time and is now an experienced junior player who attracts interest from other clubs every season and is a constant good performer on the park. He has developed in to a good captain and leader and typifies the type of players we want at our club.
I also think a good team spirit helps to build a successful team, I like outgoing players who come to football on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with a smile on their face and want to enjoy themselves and create a good atmosphere around the club.
Q4: Influences in the game - as a former player what have you taken from previous managers and what do you think makes a good manager?
A: I’d like to think I’ve learnt bits and pieces from all my previous managers, the good stuff and the bad stuff. The bad stuff is equally important because I then know how not to deal with things and certain situations. I’m fairly new to this side of the game and I’m not always going to get things right and when I get something wrong I’ll learn from it and try not make the same mistake again. Take the recent Hurlford match in the Scottish cup, I’ve taken a thing or two from that match and learned from it which will help me if we find ourselves in a similar situation again. I think a good manager is one who is approachable, one who isn’t afraid to make decisions and is willing to make a change when something isn’t going to plan. That can be either on the park or off the park.
Q5: Where do you find your drive? We can see you on the sidelines and your passion for the game is evident. What keeps you motivated within football?
A: I’ve been fairly successful in my playing career and have won silverware at all my clubs bar one since leaving boys’ club football. I want to be equally as successful in management. My main drive is getting good results and motivating the playing into performing well on a match day. I’ve always taken losing badly and that also spurs me on to get a positive result. Football is a very passionate game and I hope my players play with the same passion and desire to win as I did and as I still do in my new role as manager.
Q6: Coaching…. Where are you at the moment, where would you like to be in the future and what’s your ambition in the game?
A: Right now I’m on track to be able to sit my UEFA B license come autumn this year. Right now my ambition is to take Dalkeith Thistle to the next step. I want to be the manager that takes us to the Super League, then I want to be the manager who consolidates our position in the Super League. These are realistic ambitions because I believe we have a squad of players who are good enough to do this and a committee with the same ambition and drive to help make this happen. I know these are relatively short term ambitions but I want to be able to walk before I can run.
Q7: The feeling within the organisation is that it’s a club on the rise. Given the size of the town of Dalkeith what do you think the ambitions for a newly formed community club should be?
A: The club is definitely on the rise. It’s taken a long time to get where we are now so it’s not an overnight job. A massive amount of credit must go to Willie Pearson because he has left the club in a much better position than when he joined 12 years ago. As I said in the last question the club should be aiming to get to the Super League. If we get there then all the other stuff becomes easier. It would be easier to attract new sponsorship, easier to attract new players for the first team and for the Community Club. Dalkeith is a large town in Midlothian and we should be supported a bit more, being in the Super League would certainly help that. People want to come and watch a good successful team and that’s what the club are aiming to achieve. The newly formed community club is a massive bonus for the town. Take Spartans for example, it’s no coincidence that their first team and the club as a whole become more successful as they attracted more members to their community club. The have recently developed a young lad from their community club to first team and has earned a senior move to Dundee United. What an achievement that would be if the Jags could do something similar with one of our young lads.