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Interviewee - Greg Heywood (Wellingborough Titans)

Interviewer - Johan (IFK)

Forum Post Date - 24th September 2009

Original Thread - Click here

InterviewEdit

Had some difficulties to find my next target. Took us a week to track him down sitting behind a dumpster outside Tesco in Wellingborough, unshaved drinking cheap wine mumbling something like "we where Champions ffs" over and over again.


1. Who’s Greg Heywood?

IT project manager, in my early 30's, working in London, living in Wellingborough, but from Lancashire originally. Married with two kids and a dog, and my mistress (as my motorcycle is known in our house!).


2. When you started out in TM did you have any early plans and did they go like you wanted?

I joined at the end of season 3, with one game to play. I planned on winning to get promotion, and in fact made a quick spreadsheet to try and analyse my new squad and work out the best team selection. It didn't work; I lost, and stayed in Division 6. After that things went OK though despite spending (at the time) some stupid amounts of money on rubbish players.


3. If you started again with a new club would you do the exact same things?

Probably. In terms of facilities, I was always fairly careful about not expanding too fast (including the stadium) and I would continue to do that.


4. Any advice for a new manager starting the game today?

Be patient, and just keep trying to improve on and off the pitch, each season. Especially off the pitch. You need to have the foundations in place to build a strong team. There is no point in breaking the bank to get a great 1st XI, if you don't have the revenue to replace them as they get older and retire. Far better to have a less spectacular side and be generating more cash in the early seasons because you will tend to get promoted reasonably easily anyway.


5. Happy with your YD so far and the results from it?

I went for more than an entire season without anyone who would be fit to clean the boots of a first teamer. But then six players who started my last game came from there, and I have a few more coming through in time for the season after next. So generally yes. I still feel that a decent investment in YD is compulsory for a long term successful team.


6. YD or TG what’s the most important in your opinion and why?

YD definitely. I take TG up to level 7, but don't see the cost as being worth the expense after that the gains between level 7 and level 8 are in practice marginal at best, but the difference in outlay and maintenance certainly isn't.


7. How much time do you spend on TM every day/week?

At the moment, not much :) But sometimes 10 hours perhaps. It depends a lot on the stage of the season and the shape of my team. Scouting for new players can be time consuming at times.


8. If you could hack Thomas account for a day and change TM at your will what would you change and what things would you implement?

Reduce all balances, expenses, and incomes by a factor of 10. So the gate receipts for a seat at a game go from 200 to 20, and the wage of a player on 35,000 goes to 3,500. Similarly, a bank balance of 500m goes to 50m. This would significantly alleviate the problem of the max cash cap, but not affect any teams in reality. However, this may further drive inflation to a small degree so there would have to be a change to the balance this out (perhaps another small rise in wages).


9. Tactics do they matter or is it only down to having the best players available?

I think formation and mentality are very important, but I don't feel that the attacking style makes anywhere near enough different (wings, direct, etc). I think it is important to "match" your mentality with your formation to achieve the desired results, be that a strong attack, midfield, or defence. One of those should be the foundation for your team.


10. What is the most important position and why?

The easy answer is an FC, because if you can be difficult to score against, you can nick a goal, and the three points, but I think one of the most underrated is DMC. Not only do they create chances, but they are important in keeping the opposition OMC quiet.


11. What key skills is needed for that position(s) and why?

For DMC, pretty much all of them! Tacking, marking, strength, stamina, pace, positioning, passing, are all important, but heading and long shots can be useful too because DMC's do get chances.


12. You have any training tips to share for your players?

Just make sure you separate them out into logical groups, and of course concentrate on the physical stats when they are younger.


13. TM is a great game, what do you like most about it?

It is a great challenge, and the fact that you can't just quit and reload when it is annoying the hell out of you just add's to the fun. Most games wit an AI suffer from some form of exploit. When playing against a computer there is an almost always something that the AI just does incredibly poorly, and the more complicated the game, the more likely this is to have an effect. With a game like TM, because you are playing against other managers, they don't suffer from the same problem. There is no special formation or tactic which is going to win you the league. It makes the victories even sweeter.


14. New ME on the way are you looking forward to it?

Yep. Before, I was pretty apprehensive about it because I don't think it will be a pancrea for everyone's grips (just as many teams are still going to lose and just as many managers are still going to get frustrated and look for something to blame!), but in my league position, things can only get better. :)


15. Routine is it important in TM?

Yes I still think it is. It doesn't stop players have rubbish games, but if I had two similar players and one had higher routine (even if he was perhaps slightly weaker overall), I think I would go for him. Without routine, you just never really know if they are going to perform well or badly, and why. If they perform badly and they have high routine, it is at least one thing to rule out!


16. Ok the question everyone is asking themselves, what happened to the Titans? Champions one season then relegated and an awful start to life in second division.

I would like to say that it is all part of a plan to get my A team and B team to swap places! I don't really know. The (basically) same side, formation, and tactics, took us from something like 6th in 2:2, to 1st in 2:2 the next season, 1st in 1:1, and then back to 2:2 with a whimper. We certainly rode our luck over those two seasons, but it is difficult to comprehend going from a team that can barely lose at times, to a team that has now not won for what, 15 games or something. Still, all you can do is not panic, and try and methodically turn things around.


17. Your losing streak came all of the sudden, did you have time to think and plan for it if the unthinkable happened? (And it did)

It is strange. We had a few poor results and dropped down a bit, then had a good spell again and were one point from Europe before it all went downhill. But the plans for the club haven't really changed. Even as champions, We were miles away from being in a position where we could splash the cash like some of the other clubs in 1:1 do, and although we could have extended the stadium to take ourselves a little closer to that level, it was always going to be about progressively improving. That hasn't changed. We extended our stadium to 45k last season, but that is OK for a while in 2:2, and spent a fair amount improving our money/fan (food, merchandise etc) so we are OK. We also run a fairly lean club so financially we are sound in 2:2 for several seasons yet, despite a rapidly shrinking fan base! I can't see us being in the situation where we need to sell players to stay afloat or anything like that (even if we drop to division 3!!).


18. I also had a terrible start after my relegation, no reason to panic yet?

No because I don't think it helps. It is tempting at times to make wholesales changes (buy new players, sell existing ones, radically change formations etc), but ultimately, this is still largely the team that won 2:2 and 1:1 in consecutive seasons and they can certainly improve on their current league position. It is just a matter of pushing the right buttons to get things back on track again.


19. When will we see you back in the Prem?

When it is cool again :)


20. Prem status at least stayed in the family, are Bombers off your X-Mas card list until you have your revenge? :)

I am glad for the Bombers. Being overshadowed another member of your family winning the Premier League must be damn difficult, so getting to 1:1 again is his own little victory :)


21. What’s your best moment in TM so far? Was it a special game, season or a certain youth pull?

So many to choose from, but the victory in the last game of the season against New Jack City (2:2, season 14) is a highlight. I had been flying in the league but over the last ten or so games, Mossley was clawing my lead back and I think I had a one point lead (but poorer goal difference) going into the last round. Mossley of course took an early lead in his game so was up to 1st, but we then (finally) scored in something like the 81st minute, then again a few minutes later (before conceding a late one) to win 2-1. After such a competitive season, to finally wrap it up on the last day (and so late in the game), and get promotion back to 1:1 at the same time was better than winning a cup final.


Cheers Greg for answering this when your club needed your attention more :)