Stuart Keir and Ben Williams – First Interview

Ben Williams and Stuart Keir


New joint managers Stuart Keir and Ben Williams kindly gave up some time to speak to us following Saturday’s 1-0 victory away at Maine Road.

This is their first interview since being appointed and discussed Saturday’s big win, the rest of the season and more.

Stuart, what does it mean to you to become joint manager of AFC after previously being assistant here?

It’s a massive opportunity to manage a big club at this level and I am really grateful for the opportunity. I feel I have served my apprenticeship as an assistant manager over the past 5 years and can’t wait to get the team up the table over the coming months, it won’t be easy but I am confident that what Ben and I have put in place so far and our plans moving forward will bring us our desired goals.

After the initial shock of Chris resigning, myself and Ben have worked really well together and have the same ambition and philosophy on the game and how it should be played. I was part of the management team that had to put this young squad together pre-season and along the way there have been high and lows, but since myself and Ben have been in charge we have changed a few things tactically in and out of possession that we feel the team will benefit from for the rest of the season.

So for you Ben, coming through from the reserve set up at the club, how much of an opportunity is it to test yourself against other managers and sides at this level?

Yeah, I suppose so but the main thing is that Stu and I get the best out of a talented bunch of players over the remainder of the season and see where it takes us. Other managers and sides aren’t the main focus for us. It’s a great club with fantastic fans and we want to repay the fans support and the players loyalty with a positive push between now and the end of the season. Hopefully along the way it will bring the players and fans even closer together, giving us a solid and positive base for the second half of the season. It was certainly that way during and after Saturdays win at Maine Road, so long may that continue.

As Ben mentioned then Stu, to begin your run in permanent charge of the first team with a massive win away from home against Maine Road is the perfect start, how was it achieved?

Hard work on the training pitch, many phone calls with Ben away from training and match days, new personnel and just creating a positive atmosphere in and around the dressing room. The result against Maine Road was impressive because of the work ethic and attitude of the lads first and foremost but I felt on the day we played some really good football on a really tricky pitch and deserved the 3 points, getting a clean sheet was the icing on the cake.

Ben do you feel then that Saturday’s result can provide the catalyst for a second half fight back this season?

I don’t see why not if the players show the same excellent attitude they did on Saturday and the fans are providing us with that boost from the stands each game as we heard from the travelling faithful on Saturday. Hopefully this will give us some momentum over the next few months, but we won’t be getting ahead of ourselves after that one win. The lads want more and we feel they have the ability to achieve it.

Finally then both, that win takes us out of the bottom four but what are your ambitions for this side for the rest of the season?

Stu: Just for the players to keep developing, getting as many wins as possible and putting points on the board, we’re under no illusions that one win gets us out of trouble but the nature of the win and the performance of the players in difficult conditions was fantastic.

Ben: It sounds cliché but one game at a time springs to mind and the players have showed a tremendous amount of focus and professionalism both on the pitch and during training since we came into post. So without putting silly amounts of pressure on the lads, it’s for us all to work hard and enjoy things along the way and I’m sure we will do well. As for the fans, keep doing what they’re doing as they did Saturday for our first official game in charge, and I’m sure they’ll have a team they’ll be proud to cheer over the remainder of the season. We’ll all certainly be doing our best to get results and entertain them, the main thing is we stick together.

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