Peter Grant First InterviewFriday, 28th May 2021
28/05/21: “It is not second place that we are looking for, we want to go up automatically.”
Chairman Ross McArthur today introduced Peter Grant to the media as the club’s new First Team Manager. He indicated that Peter had been ‘front runner’, there had been a lot of other options in the process but he said that he was absolutely delighted to secure Peter’s services and hoped that the new manager would take the club forward and make new history.
Dunfermline becomes the fourth club that Peter Grant has managed but he pledged his loyalty to the Pars saying:-
“My ambition is to try and get Dunfermline back in the Premiership. That would make me as proud as I possibly could in my football career. My pride and joy now is looking after Dunfermline Football Club. I am really looking forward to getting to see the fans back in the door and I’m hoping that I can put a team on the football pitch that they can be proud of. Hopefully this journey is going to end up in the Premiership, that is the aim for everybody.”
Peter who left Alloa Athletic at the end of last season explained that his decision to resign was not to have a rest from football.
“I love being involved in football, it is just that I felt that I needed a different challenge and probably Alloa needed something different. Obviously I was disappointed by the way the season ended for us but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.
“They were two difficult seasons as you can imagine for everybody without supporters. I was very very proud to be their manager and by the way the boys went about their business, it is just unfortunate the way it ended. I would have loved to have left with them still being in the Championship.”
After his coaching experiences in England with Bournemouth, West Ham, Norwich City, West Brom, Birmingham, Aston Villa and Fulham, the 55 year old new gaffer felt that his Scottish Championship at Alloa was tough but he loved every minute of it.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, you are always learning every day. That was so important for me to use that experience during difficult times for everyone. Simple things like Alloa being a part time club, couldn’t take full time players because then they would then have to become part time. That was a big barrier.
“Loans were so important to us because the boys who were there were nothing short of magnificent. There were four or five performances last year that I wasn’t happy with trying to stay in a league that was nine games short. I was proud of the way they went about their business, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was very much a learning experience. How to manage being part time, that was a new experience for myself and how much time and sacrifices part time players give up.
“I think the full time players should respect the amount of work these guys put in and the amount of hours they put in. It is not just two or three hours and then going home, they have to work at their own jobs then have to turn up to play a game of football or training. I was very proud and humbled really. Hopefully I can use that experience going forward again.”
Grant’s experiences include playing for Celtic against the Pars in the late eighties and early nineties he recalled:-
“It was always a place that you loved coming to because it was always full, the old terracing and whatever. It was one of those stadiums with the crowd so close to you, even coming down the steps to go on to the pitch was something different.
“You were playing against Norrie McCathie, God rest his soul, Istvan Kozma and a lot of other talented boys. You always knew that you were in for a game here, you always looked upon Dunfermline as one of the big clubs and one of the big games - a tough game every time.
“I have been here in latter years watching games, scouting at games and obviously playing against Dunfermline. Once I got the opportunity to come to a team that wants to move forward, wants to challenge and progress, it was a no brainer for me really.
“I wanted to remain as a manager and that is what I am going to do. I am really looking forward and excited about it.”
On more than one occasion Peter Grant stressed the aim to return to the Premiership. There was no getting away from that but he acknowledged that nobody has a divine right to be there, you have to earn it.
“I was down in England for 25 years and you see this ‘big club’ sitting in the fourth division living on memories. I am not one for that, I am all about the future and what we can achieve next that will bring supporters in the door when they are allowed back. Then go home on a Saturday night delighted that they have seen their team play well, winning and trying to get to the Premier League.
“I love playing under that pressure and hopefully the players can use that pressure in the right way, get excited about it and not feel that it’s a noose round their neck.
“It is so so important that you come and enjoy your football and your supporters go away really proud of the way that you performed and the effort and commitment that you have given. That is what I’m looking to do, hopefully we can get the supporters back because I know that it is a passionate support. I know that it is a demanding support but I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Looking ahead to the season ahead no one would deny that the Championship will continue to be a fiercely competitive league and with the addition of Hamilton and Kilmarnock just as much of a fight for promotion. Peter continued:-
“It is a really difficult league and I found that every game that I have gone into you knew that it was an opportunity that you could win and in every game that you went in to there was an opportunity to lose. Teams are capable of beating each other and I don’t think that is going to change next year. It will be the exact same from day one, we are all capable of beating each other and the teams coming down from the Premiership might be that bit stronger but games are not played by names.
“Games are played on the football pitch and that is when you have to win and that is what you have to be ready for. The challenge for us is to win games and prove that week in week out. If you play well one week you have got to go and play well the next week. You train well one day, you have got to train well the next day. That is the challenge to throw down if you want to be a big time player playing in the big leagues.
“The only way you can get there is winning games of football and as I say, producing performances. I know this squad, I am excited to work with them because there is a helluva lot of good talent here. They did very well last year but they have to do better to get to the Premier League. This is the challenge and something that I am really looking forward to and I’m sure that everyone at the club has.”
Peter agreed that there were difficulties working with part time players at Alloa although he treated his own job as full time:-
“I loved every moment at Alloa, it was a magnificent experience. I would go in as normal and do it as a full time job. That was what kept me sane but the difficulty was when you had some players not getting home from work until half past four in the morning then playing for you at three o’clock in the afternoon. I don’t think people appreciate that from the part time boys.
“It was what we were built on but it made me humble because of the number of hours these guys put in and the commitment they gave to their training, coming straight from work and working shifts. You are very very fortunate to be a full time footballer. That is the one thing that I will make sure that the boys here know. I’m sure that the boys do know.
“We have the best job in the world bar none. There is no getting away from it, if you are not a football player, you want to be a football manager because you can keep that environment of being in a dressing room. I want the players to appreciate every supporter that turns up here to watch a game of football knowing that we are in a privileged position.
“These people are paying hard earned money to come and watch you, so you have got to give them everything that you have got. That is what we are looking forward to - that camaraderie between the players and the supporters. There is nothing better than supporters singing your name at the side of the pitch. To do that you have to be winning games of football and producing performances, that is what we want to try and do.
“It is a very open Championship, we will start the race together and we want to be the winners of it. That is the challenge that sits ahead of us, it is not second place that we are looking for we want to go up automatically.”
Asked about Backroom staff Peter Grant revealed that he would love Greg Shields to remain part of the management team:-
“I am going to speak to Greg today because I have always been impressed with Greg when I have met him. When I have coached against him. I have been really impressed with him as a guy and I have been given the opportunity to do whatever I want.
“That’s fine but I have gone into clubs before where everybody was wiped out and a lot of good people have been let go. That won’t be happening here for sure. You won’t see a lot of changes in that respect because there are a lot of good people working here. It is important that is not forgotten, I definitely won’t forget that - I know the job that they do and I know how diligent they are in their work. I have been really impressed with them as people, coaches or whatever.
“I will sit down with Greg. Stevie did a fantastic job and you can see that from the group of players they have. The likes of Kevin O’Hara and Scott Banks they have taken from us - at first I thought that we were doing their scouting for them!
“I was really impressed with the players brought into the squad last season. They were the sort of people that I would have brought into the club. Hats off to him, it is just unfortunate that they never got over the final hurdle. Hopefully we can do that this year.”
After links made with Celtic and the possibility of teaming up under Eddie Howe at Celtic, Peter replied:-
“People know my connection with Celtic and my connection with Eddie for a long time but this is the only job that I wanted and the only job I have spoken to. I am really looking forward to getting started at Dunfermline.”
Tomorrow:-the new Pars boss talks about recruitment and style of football
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