Pat Fenlon happy with his challenge with Waterford FC
Pat Fenlon, the 47 years old former Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Hibernian manager was appointed as the Director of Football of Waterford FC two weeks and he is eagerly looking forward to the coming season with the Blues. The Dubliner has a proven record in the game having won league titles here in Ireland and he also took Hibernian to two Scottish FA Cup finals and he was also a top class player prior to moving into management.
Speaking on his appointment, Pat Fenlon said, “It's great to be involved and like I said in the statement I'm looking forward to the role. It's a new role for me and it's an exciting role in trying to bring Waterford back to the glory days. That's what we want to try do and my role is to give Alan (Reynolds) as much help as I can.
“I've plenty of experience in football now so hopefully I can help him in that regard and get the team promoted to the Premier Division. That's the plan. It's also important that whilst trying to be successful that we build a platform that doesn't go back or ever goes back to the way it was for the last while.
“That's important and that's a bigger part in my role. As well as helping with the first team, I have to make sure that the structures are good and strong. We have to make sure that the foundations are good so we get to the stage where we're producing our own local players into the team.
“We have to try and build the club as a football club now. Obviously, that will build success but on the back of success we need sustainability and that it's there for a lasting period.
“I think that the role that really interested me was to try and build the football club rather than just building a team. It's obviously important that the first team does well because that has a knock-on effect for everybody but it's very important that we resurrect and restructure.
“We have to make sure that we restructure all the underage structures and we try build on them. We need to have a relationship in Waterford with all the clubs that produce these players. There is a lot of players not just in Waterford but in the region going to Dublin and elsewhere to play football but we need to keep them here.
“We must make the club sustainable going forward. Look I have been involved in trying to attract these players out of these areas to Dublin over the last few years but I think it's important that a strong club like Waterford can be an incentive to ply their trade at home whilst playing for a big club as well.
“There is a hell of a lot of players in Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary and of course Waterford that we really want to help and try progress.
Speaking on the first team and one team going up, Fenlon said, “Everyone knows that it's a difficult league to be in but there is a number of big clubs in it. We're all in same boat that we want to get out of the league so it's important that we hit the ground running.
“We're trying to build a squad at the moment for Alan that will give him a chance to do that. But on the back of that, it's not the be all and end all really. It's very important that we build success for the whole club and that the whole club moves forward.
“The structure must be right on and off the pitch not just for the first team to sustain all that. We need to be ready to move forward into the Premier division if we're doing that. I think that the long-term project is what the club is about and not just the short-term goals.
�We need to have goals obviously of getting the club promoted as quick as we can but like I said there is other teams in the division will have the same ideas and will want to do that as quick as possible. My job is to ensure that the club is sustainable and will grow together as one.
“I had Alan (Reynolds) as a player at Shelbourne in the latter stages of his career and he was brilliant for me when he came into a very good Shels team. I know what he is about and I know that his work ethic is very similar to my own.
“I think that big plus for Alan is that he is a huge desire for Waterford to do well. He is a local boy and he knows the potential of the club as well. He wants to work really hard and that's what we're about. We need people that are willing to work hard to bring the club back to where it should be.
“I'll give him all the knowledge and help I can in relation to the first team. I'm sure he'll learn as he goes along but like I say he has a real passion for the club and he wants the club to succeed. The plan is to build a team of youth and experience.
“We don't want to blend it totally with experience. It's obviously important but there is a plan to have experience with an element of youth but they have to have desire because that's really important in football these days.
“We need to leave a pathway for the young players to get through and it's important that the young players in the area realise that there is an opportunity for them here at Waterford.
“It's a new role for me and I've being managing a long time. I said after the Rovers job that it would be difficult to go back into that role but this excites me because I've no connections with Waterford whatsoever. It excites me that Lee is trying to build a club and not a team. It's one club that can develop and change very quickly.
“I don't think that there is a lot of clubs that you can do that in Ireland with but Waterford is different because the potential is huge. We need the big football clubs in Ireland to make the game successful and we need to put Waterford back into that category. There is a huge respect for Waterford so I'm looking forward to the challenge.”