Callaghan’s new philosophy for BohemiansPosted: January 12, 2012
It was the beginning of a new era today at Bohemian Football Club as new manager Aaron Callaghan took his first press conference as manager since being announced as the new manager on New Years eve. During the media briefing at Dalymount Park, Callaghan informed the media of his plans for the upcoming Airtricity league season. The journalists who were present were also briefly told of which players had been signed up to help guide the Gypsies through their toughest season yet.
Callaghan revealed that the club have been scouring the country for ’17-23 year olds’ to add to the squad. The financial difficulties that Bohemians are in has been well documented over the past couple of years and has paved the way for almost every senior player to leave Dalymount park in the close season, so this is the main reason which has forced a change of philosophy in Phibsboro.
Callaghan and Heary both expressed their concern at the differing level of wage bill between the top 2 clubs (especially Shamrock Rovers) and the rest of the division. However, they both kept their cards close to their chest and said that they will be offering first team football and looking to sell the brand of Bohs to young players as a substitute for the high wages which other clubs will be offering.
When asked if the club would be looking to bring in some experienced heads to the dressing room, Callaghan stated that this could possibly happen, but only if it was in-line with the budget. He also made it clear that a coaching role could be offered to some seasoned professionals along with playing roles for the coming season.
At the start of last season, the Gypsies struggled to have a proper pre-season because of the doubt surrounding the club’s future. This could pose a problem this season as well, as the new manager mentioned that he won’t have enough time for a full proper pre-season with the new team. Callaghan named some players that have been registered for next season such as Neil Harney, Danny Joyce and John O’Connor who starred for the under 19s against a PFAI XI on Tuesday night. As well as this, seven of the young players who played for the club last season have also signed so far.
Callaghan stated that one of his main priorities was to re-sign eight of the young players who broke into the team on amateur contracts last season. Seven of the eight will be with Bohs next year, the last player who Callaghan failed to sign being Christopher Forrester. The energetic young winger has signed for St. Patrick’s Athletic for the 2012 season.
Callaghan also revealed that he is hopeful of making use of his contacts in England in March or April and is confident of plucking some top class talent from the English reserve league on loan. He mentioned names such as David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, Neil Lennon as well as Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis. During his playing career, Callaghan played for Crewe for four years.
It also seems that Callaghan is in touch with the financial situation at Bohemians. During the press conference he mentioned a number of times the difficulties that the club are going through, and is perfectly happy and eager to work within those constraints. He also worked with Martin Russell at UCD where the emphasis has always been to promote youth within the ranks. Callaghan has conceded that it will be harder to implement that policy with Bohs, citing the scholarship system that has been in place ‘for over 20 years’ at the Belfield Bowl. Callaghan also stated that he would be looking ‘around DCU and other colleges in the Dublin area’ for young players.
Later in the conference, Owen Heary spoke of Bohs being an attractive prospect for young players to come to for the chance to play first team football. He said, “They know they have a chance of playing. There is no reserve league so if you’re over 19 years of age and can’t get into a squad around the country, where do you play? You’ve a better chance at coming to Bohs and playing.”
Heary later spoke of his delight at helping his club in its time of need. “I’m used to full-time football, and I only live down the road so I like to come down and do as much as I can” he said. There was also speculation in the winter months that Heary would take up a player/manager position at the club but he was quick to set the record straight by stating that he doesn’t believe in a player/manager role as it doesn’t always end well, citing Pat Fenlon when the pair were at Shelbourne as an example. Owen mentioned it would be easy to get very heated up during games and recalled Fenlon being sent off in one of his last games as player/manager of Shels.
He stated he would have been interested in the full-time manager’s job at the club, but he didn’t possess the qualifications at the time to do so. However, his continued playing role doesn’t mean that Heary will not have a managing role next season, as he is once again set to take charge of the under 19s as they look to emulate the success of last year’s A-team run to the final of the Leinster Senior Cup.
Pre-season is set to start for the Gypsies on Monday, although this could be delayed if some signings aren’t made on time. The club is set to train at Dalymount park, but there are on the look out for an alternative venue in case the pitch is not fit to use.
Follow Robert on Twitter @Robbie_OR