Keith Hill held his first interview as Tranmere Rovers manager ahead of Saturday’s convincing win against Grimsby Town.
The new boss spoke in depth about a number of subjects, including his praise for Ian Dawes, staff and players for their recent performances, his excitement to be the new manager, his ambitions, his style of play and his first message to the Club’s supporters, the Super White Army.
Question: Keith, a very warm welcome to Tranmere Rovers Football Club, how does it feel to be the new first team manager?
Keith: I am absolutely delighted. It is a position I am really looking forward to taking up and the roles and responsibilities, working with the group of players and the current staff at the Club. I am really excited. Our aim is to challenge for promotion and it is an exciting challenge.
Question: Your managerial record at this level speaks for itself, you’ve achieved two promotions from this league during your time at Rochdale, what are your aspirations in your new role?
Keith: The Club is in a stable position and it is about building continuity, developing and being successful. The training facilities are exceptional, and it is about getting that training component onto the matchday. Hopefully then we will get the type of results that we have been seeing over the last few matches.
Question: Tranmere is a football club you are very familiar with, and you will already know how passionate our supporters are?
Keith: Definitely. We have an unbelievable network of supporters and the communityalways gets behind the football club. It is a shame they are not able to watch the games live at this moment in time, but when they do come back, they will be excited by performances and results as well. They will fall in love with this team, like they do already with Tranmere Rovers.
Question: Last season, you were in charge at Bolton Wanderers under what only can be described as difficult circumstances, but your record showed that you were steering the football club in the right direction…
Keith: It was a challenge and a very difficult one to take on, but I thought we did as well as we possibly could. We were dealt the hand that we were dealt but time moves on and I am very happy to be at Tranmere Rovers.
Question: Keith in 2019, a talkSPORT broadcaster and a Tranmere fan, Nigel Adderley, said your style of play was like that of Johnny King which is an excellent compliment. Can you tell the fans more about the kind of football you like to play?
Keith: We will score goals and I like attacking football. I am a supporter of football and I want to be proud of the team. The DNA of the team will be to attack and obviously, attack is the first line of defence. But equally so, I expect the goals to be shared out.
It would be nice if every player in the squad at least gets one goal for the team. It is something we will strive to do and not put all the pressure on one player. The goals need to be shared, but it is about creating that link between the supporters and the team.
We have to fall in love with each other, but good performances will lead to results. There will be a DNA with the way that we play, we want to play quick football. Everything in life is quick now, it will be certainly enjoyable to watch and certainly not boring.
Question: You have had the chance to assess the squad from afar, you must be excited to work with this group of players?
Keith: I have watched seven games all together. This squad is experienced, a good depth and it is going to be a privilege to work with this group and the current staff. The staff have done tremendous to turn the form around in the last five matches. It is about making progress and it is going to be small progress because at this moment in time, there is not a lot that needs changing too much. It is about using all of our experience and guide the players to perform more consistently and to continue getting good results, and that is what we will do.
Question: You have mentioned the staff and the amazing job they have done in the interim with Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson, they have done an excellent job haven’t they?
Keith: They have been superb. Just watching the Port Vale match, the togetherness and the celebrations as they erupted at the final whistle, it brought everyone together. It is maintaining and establishing that team spirit amongst the players, staff and supporters. Everyone has to take ownership of it and which direction we are going in. There is a lot of ambition at this football club and so there should be. We have to stand up to that and deliver the ambition of individuals and the collective which is the supporters, the owners, the management team and the players. It is important that we realise our ambitions.
Question: Stability is a word you have already used, the football club certainly has that, especially during the current pandemic and we have some excellent facilities such as the training ground and the stadium. Was that a big pull for you?
Keith: This is a big football club. The facilities, the stadium, the training ground, the squad, the supporters and the plans the Chairman has to keep progressing to make us better. Stability is the bedrock of our success and we keep striving for footballing success, but ultimately this football club is in really good shape and financially as well and it holds everyone in good stead.
Question: Your time at Rochdale was very successful, you helped them achieve their first promotion in 40 plus years, you took them to the brink of the Play-Offs in League One, you have tasted a lot of success at this level and the one above?
Keith: It is about getting that belief and everyone buying into it. The players, the staff, football is a simple game with simple messages, don’t over complicate it. Allow the players to enjoy it but own it. That was part of the success at Rochdale. The club hadn’t achieved promotion for so long, so the message was, let’s go and do it, there has to be ambition and drive. I go back to player ownership, you want the players to own my vision and the Chairman’s vision with the way that we want to play and the success that we want and try and work hard to achieve.
Question: A final message to the Super White Army?
Keith: I am really excited to be representing this fantastic football club. They are a tremendous fan base, I can’t wait until they are back inside the stadium. Trust me, you will be excited with the way that we play football.