Concord Rangers have certainly got a coup in bringing in Jody Brown as Assistant Manager for the 2015/2016 season. Jody has coached/managed at all non-league levels from Step 6 to Step 1.
Jody has recently been manager at Welling in the Conference Premier, and prior to that was managing at Grays and Heybridge Swifts.
Before the start of the season, I spoke to Jody about what he hopes to bring to Concord Rangers and his aims for next season.
What does the role of Assistant Manager mean to you, and how do you see your relationship with Adam Flanagan working?
I've been an Assistant Manager before and really enjoyed it. Myself and Adam bring different qualities to the club. I'm comfortable on the training ground, I enjoy recruitment, and preparing the team tactically. Hopefully I've aided players development over the years, and in this role I can focus on those elements.
That will allow Adam to manage the club the way he wants to, and hopefully build on the great year he has had at Brentwood Town.
Are you aiming to bounce back from your time at Welling, and have you learned any lessons from your brief time there?
I've learned as much as you can in two months, but I guess the real lessons relate to the type of job to take, and the circumstances to take them in. Whilst also remembering to do things your way, and not be led by the previous regime, sentiment, or good will, cause ultimately your judged on results.
Those that know the ins and outs of my Welling Utd experience will know it's not quite how it may seem. I was surprised by so many aspects of the set up there. However the games against Forest Green, Macclesfield and Aldershot, all away from home were good tests tactically and great experience for me to take into the future.
How aware have you been of Concord's rise through the non-league pyramid?
I've been very much aware over the last couple of years. I had the opportunity to join Danny Cowley's management team a few years back, but felt we were on the verge of a special season at Maldon & Tiptree. So of course I've watched the progress since and been impressed, particularly with how the players have evolved and manage to step up to each new challenge.
Obviously you and Adam have big shoes to fill, and how conscious are you of that?
Danny did a great job, but he had a long time to develop a squad and an infrastructure. That can't be done overnight, but Adam's very positive, and I feel I have something positive to offer to. Although we all realise that the transition will take time, and won't be without obstacles. However, players win football matches, and if the squad can be kept together and improved, I'm sure progress can continue.
I note that you have extensive coaching experience at all levels of the game, where did this love of coaching come from?
I coached as a teenager as fun, then following my second leg break, I started doing more and more until it became apparent that my coaching career could take me much further than my playing career. I'm glad I made that choice as I've had the privilege of working with some top professionals, as well as some excellent young players.
How did your first coaching experience materialise?
I was doing my badges, and helping out with my local Sunday side, which went really well, and led to a managerial opportunity at Tiptree Utd in the Eastern Counties league, and latterly a coaching role at Colchester Utd.
Describe the feeling of improving a player's game from coaching. How does that feel to you?
I've always enjoyed that aspect of my job, and take great pride in their progress and successes, even after they've moved on. It's a little like parenthood in that you always care about their well being and progress even after they've left home. Joe Gardner, Tom Stephen and Conor Gough are examples of that, and it's great to get the chance to work with them again here.
What coaches/managers do you admire? Do you try to model yourself on one of them, or do you try to have your own ideas?
I don't really model myself on anyone. I'm a strong believer in having your own identity, but learning from everyone around you. I admired Phil Parkinson's winning mentality when he was at Colchester, and Joe Dunne's work ethic in terms of research and preparation at the same club. I'm a fan of Arsene Wenger's philosophy and player development, but Mourinho is the one we all have to follow. He seems to have it all, and even his haters have to admire his ability to build a team and win trophies.
How keen are you on the season starting, and what are realistic ambitions for Concord this season?
I'm enjoying my break from the game, but it's going to be exciting to start a new season, set new goals, play in the FA Cup again, and work with a group of players that I hear so many positive things about.
I don't think now is the right time to talk about expectations, I'm just looking forward to playing my small part in the club's continued progress on and off the field.