The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

I WAS quoted this week as say­ing that “Steve­nage were rock bot­tom when I ar­rived and we have now pro­gressed to bot­tom”. Quoted and then ridiculed!

“Doesn’t he re­alise that rock bot­tom and bot­tom are both bot­tom?”

Well, sur­prise sur­prise, that hadn’t es­caped me! I did ac­tu­ally know what mes­sage I was get­ting across. But let me ex­plain:

Gary Smith was dis­missed from Steve­nage af­ter a run of 14 de­feats in 17 games. That was rock bot­tom form.

I have slowly and steadily worked to try to im­prove those re­sults. I cur­rently have 10 new play­ers at the club and I have moved 24 play­ers out of our squad.

The weekly wage bill has tum­bled, which was im­por­tant be­cause last year’s rev­enues did not al­low spend­ing to con­tinue at the lev­els I in­her­ited. And in our last 17 games we have won 20 points.

That form sees us at the bot­tom of the ta­ble but it is a huge jump for­ward from 14 de­feats in 17 games. Our in­ten­tion is to con­tinue to rise into a com­fort­able po­si­tion of safety.

We are a small club and there are no fast track so­lu­tions. We can’t go and spend on proven play­ers. We have to find and de­velop talent and that takes time.

The beauty is that, if you are pa­tient, you can make sub­stan­tial strides with am­bi­tious talent from lower lev­els and young talent de­serv­ing its chance.

In 2013, in three of the few games that we have played, we have knocked Don­caster out of the Cup at their place, and beaten two de­cent mid-ta­ble sides (Swin­don and Gilling­ham) at home in the league.

Rock bot­tom and bot­tom are very dif­fer­ent places. Just like bot­tom and com­fort­ably safe are very dif­fer­ent things. One step at a time. One day at a time.

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