Going into the job, I had a 100-day plan that detailed everything: how I was going to embrace the staff, how I was going to set the tone with the first-team group, and the sessions I was going to put on.
In my seventh game as a manager, we faced Yeovil Town – my dad’s team (above).
At the time, Yeovil were flying high, looking to get automatic promotion. We really needed the result to help us stay up.
I think it was worse for him than for me, to be honest. It was certainly a difficult week for my mum.
For me, it was just about winning. Whether it’s tiddlywinks, ping pong or whatever, me and my dad are always competitive. I wanted to beat him, and I wanted to get the right result for the club.
His attitude would probably have been different. As a parent, I know that if I ever came across that scenario with my kid, it would be very difficult.
“We had to get rid of the old guard and bring in a group of bright, young players who were willing to achieve success, but who also had the potential to be sold”
I think 80 per cent of him would have wanted to win, but there’d have been 20 per cent in there that wanted to see his son kick-start his career.
We won 1-0, and got the result that was so important to us staying up. And Dad still ended up getting Yeovil promoted via the playoffs, so it worked out well for both of us.
That first season was a firefighting exercise, really. But once we had the results we needed, the plan completely changed.
The club needed to survive financially. It had to be sustainable.
Then it became about nurturing young players and selling them. We had to get rid of the old guard and bring in a group of bright, young players who were willing to achieve success, but who also had the potential to be sold. We brought in Jonson Clarke-Harris for £4,000 and sold him for £400,000. We sold James Tarkowski to Brentford for £400,000. Jose Baxter to Sheffield United.
It’s not easy to lose your best players, but it kept the club going.