New boss wants Cards to ‘get better every day’

NEW Woking boss Darren Sarll says that getting better every day must be the club’s mantra.

Sarll was appointed the Cards’ manager on Monday, having left his role at their fellow Vanarama National League side Yeovil Town.

New Woking FC boss Darren Sarll

In a statement released to announce Sarll’s arrival, Woking chief executive John Katz said that he had received “dozens of quality applications for the job”, but that the 39-year-old Sarll “was a top candidate from the moment we reviewed his CV”.

And now Sarll, who will be in the dugout for his new outfit’s trip to Boreham Wood today, is focused on bringing all of his impressive footballing background – which includes managing in Sky Bet League Two – to bear at a club whose main long-term objective is to secure promotion to the English Football League.

Sarll told the News & Mail: “It [the managerial move] was very much driven by my urge to come here.

“And that urge stems from a belief in the journey and the story that we can create, and the work that we have to do.

“This is not going to be a short-term ascent or fix for the football club. It’s all about the journey, and the medium- and long-term objectives that we’re trying to achieve.

“I think that the club is desperate to accelerate its performance level, bridge the gap that’s getting bigger and bigger in the National League and lay the necessary infrastructure professionally to achieve that over a sustainable period.

“It’s all about time. It’s all about foundations. And that’s what the interest and the excitement was for me – to have that journey and help the club build those types of things.”

Sarll revealed that he would be using the remainder of the National League season to conduct an assessment of the squad he inherits at The Laithwaite Community Stadium, and that will inform him how much – or how little – work there is to do in the summer as far as his major focus of recruitment goes.

He said: “On or off the pitch, if you want a team to challenge, it’s defined by its recruitment.

“The recruitment has to be absolutely spot on.

“I’ve never spent my resources flippantly. I’ve always spent my resources as if they’re my own. Every pound and penny counts.

“We’ve got to try to find the right players at the right age, at the right time, in the right location. And if we can get 90-95% of those decisions right, then we’re going to build a good team.

“And then it’s all about giving the team enough of a platform to maximise their potential. If you get all those things together, you can create really special things.

“[Understanding the squad] comes in the next six weeks. That’s the whole idea of this assessment period now – to make those decisions.

Of critical and seemingly increasing importance to the Woking fan base over recent seasons has been not just whether their team win, but how they win. The likes of Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel have changed the way people view the game in England, and Sarll’s footballing philosophy appears to have certain elements in common with those tactical super coaches.

Former Stevenage boss Sarll said: “My footballing philosophy starts and doesn’t get too far away from its energy and enthusiasm, its work ethic and the aggression of the team.

“I’ve never understood a team that doesn’t win the ball back as high and as early and as often as possible. And then when you start to deliver that foundation and implement those strategies, I think then you find out about the offensive side of the game.

“As long as there is football around, the best teams will always be the most organised, the fittest, the most athletic, and it’s important we try to emulate those attributes in our team.

It’s clear that Sarll has already bought into the Woking vision, but that won’t stop him having difficult conversations with those around him if it’s in pursuit of the greater good.

That greater good is, of course, success and the p-word, but Sarll does not feel he has the information yet to declare what is possible next season.

“I think the people who I’ve met so far have been fabulous. Really great, very exciting and excitable and hopefully we can recruit in the right way on the pitch in order to try to construct a successful team,” he said.

“Any promotion is a huge achievement. Whatever club you’re at, the hardest thing to do is to get a team promoted. I think it’s probably a little bit too far down the road to even start thinking about that.

“But what we need to start thinking about very, very quickly is how we get better every day, and how the model and the make-up of the football club gets better every day so that it can sustain winning.”

Sarll confirmed that he has retained the services of Ian Dyer, who had remained at the club following Alan Dowson’s sacking. As interim manager, Dyer delivered an impressive 10 points from a possible 18 in the matches he oversaw.

Sarll said he wouldn’t have been comfortable costing Dyer his livelihood.

The new boss said that he is “always open-minded to new relationships” and seeing if they can benefit his team.

For the full interview by Rob Hemingway, see the 31 March edition of the News & Mail

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