Caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth on taking the reins at Adams Park.
I’m glad that I had that stint at QPR because it put me in that coaching frame of mind. I’ve got my ‘B’ Licence and I’m working on my ‘A’ Licence. I’ve put the work and graft in over the past 24 years in my career. I’ve got a lot of experience on the pitch, now I’ve got to transfer that to the boys here. I need to get my tactical head on and find out ways we can break down teams, defend against teams. It’s a real challenge and I’m glad I’ve got Dobbo (Richard Dobson) and Lee Harrison alongside me, two great guys who know a lot about football. It’s going to be total passion, total emotion and I know I’m going to be shattered after games. Hopefully it’ll all be worthwhile.
Firstly, I want to thank Gary (Waddock) for what he did for my career and for Wycombe Wanderers. It’s not nice to see someone lose their job, especially when they are your friend as well as your manager. When he found out, he said to me ‘it’s your turn Gaz, grab it with both hands’. I don’t want to let him or anyone else down, I’m going to give this my best shot and see what comes. I’m sure Gary will find another job, but he’ll be the first to recognise that we’ve got to get points on the board, as well as passion, spirit and drive back into this club. I want the lads to respond and the team that go out there on Saturday will give that.
Gaz – congratulations on being named caretaker manager, you must be excited by the challenge?
I asked for their respect which I know I’ve got, I asked them to respect my decisions because it’s not an easy place to be, and I asked for passion. We’re good footballers, the passion and drive are the things that are missing at the moment. I see these lads week in, week out and they can play, they can score goals, they can defend, now it’s that bit of spark, that fire in your belly that will get us points. I want them to do things they didn’t think they could, it’s that unknown that I want to get out of them. I’ll be doing everything I can to do that.
You addressed the lads for the first time in your new role yesterday – what did you say to them?
I don’t want to discount myself as a player but there’s a tough job to do as caretaker manager. That’s got to come first. If we can get that back, coupled with our talented squad, we will start picking results up. It starts Saturday and I’m really looking forward to it.
I’ll wear a tracksuit for now, I’m not sure the lads are ready for my suits yet! They’re quite cool, quite rock n roll, so we’ll save them for a later date. For now, it’ll be tracksuit. The long hair will stay though!
Will you be a suit or tracksuit manager?!
What I found out at QPR was that I don’t hold anything back. I was nearly in tears one Tuesday night when we beat Birmingham 1-0. That’s what I’ll show. I can’t hide emotions, if I’m angry you’ll see it, if I’m emotional you’ll see it, if I’m upset, if I’m tearful with joy you’ll see it – you’ll see everything. Hopefully people will respond to that and say ‘he’s not hiding anything, he’s passionate and that’s what Gareth Ainsworth is all about’. You will get everything I’ve got, everything, every little bit of passion that oozes out of me for football will be seen.
What type of manager will you be?
Please get behind us the best you can, as I know you can. Singing the players’ names really helps, being positive and showing everything that I would show. You all know me by now – I've got a lot of emotion and a lot of passion for Wycombe Wanderers. I’m so proud to have been captain, to be a player and now to be caretaker manager. Be proud to be a Wycombe fan because they need you at the moment. It’s easy to support a team when it’s going well, now we’re going through a tough time and this is when true supporters come to the fore. Everyone is going to be proud when we do turn it round and we’ll all be pleased to say we were part of that.
The fans have been understandably frustrated with the start to the season, what would your message be to them?
I can’t play 25 players. I’ll pick players on individual games – what I think will work in one game might not work in another. It will be horses for courses for me, that’s the way modern football is going. I’ll be doing that and picking the best team for that specific game. Hopefully we’ll get the results, if not there’s only one person it comes back to and that’s me. It’s a tough job but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.
Have you got some difficult decisions to make regarding the playing squad?