Ben Ashelford caught up with Brian Stock ahead of this weekend’s Vanarama National League season opener.

On preparations over the Summer:

“There’s a lot of work that has gone on behind the scenes,  a lot of credit goes to the staff and board members. It’s been nice to build my own squad and recruit the players which I feel will take this club forward; that’s been a long time in the planning.

“Pre-season has gone very well so far, we’ve managed to stay clear of injuries and have a relatively fit squad going into the start of the season.”

On taking influences from past managers for pre-season preparations:

“It’s important that you create your own philosophy as a manager and stick to your beliefs. When things don’t necessarily go to plan, it’s important that you remember the identity of how you want your team to look.

“I think you have to take a little piece of every successful manager, and even unsuccessful manager, and piece together your own identity.

“One or two of the things we highlighted in the Summer was that we had a lack of energy to be able to go Saturday/Tuesday. I feel that we’ve brought in a lot of energy to the team, a lot of players who don’t necessarily have jobs, and that’s no disrespect to the players who have had jobs in the past and currently do have, but it brings us to a place where we can have a Wednesday session and our numbers are now 16-17 rather than 6 or 7.

“The pleasing thing is that every one of those players are a Weymouth player, but it still gives us the opportunity to go into the loan market.”

On pre-season as a player:

“One of my pre-seasons at Havant & Waterlooville, Louis Langdown actually took the sessions and we still have a joke about it now. Some of the runs that we do now are ones which we did back then, it’s one of those where I’d say, “Louis can you look after me today, just give me the one run instead of the two.”

“I was in the back end of my career then and had to look after my body, when you get to that sort of age it’s all about understanding what you can and can’t do and getting yourself right for a fixture. We’re fortunate that we’ve got a lot of youth in the side.

“Pre-season is not enjoyable, especially the running, and nobody likes it but it’s an absolute must in terms of trying to prepare us for the season.”

On hitting the ground running:

“I think pre-season has gone really well, I think the inclusion of having a new venue at the Canford School has been fantastic for us. Utilising facilities like swimming pools, running tracks, quality grass pitches, has really helped us and it’s been a really good base camp for us to set ourselves up for the season.”

On bringing in new backroom staff:

“It’s important you find the right staff and coaches who share the same mentality, work rate and attitude as yourself. If that aligns with your beliefs and how you want to play then great!

“Sometimes those characters are hard to find and it does take a bit of time. Particularly when we lost Danny Webb, our full-time analyst, it took us a while to replace him with Zach (Thornton).

“We’re fortunate now to have Lee Collier, who was a full-time coach at MK Dons Under 18s and Under 23s and he’s brought a lot to the table, likewise with Charlie (Kirby), our physio who completes the staff.”

On the open training session at the Bob Lucas Stadium:

“I think it was successful, I think it was important that everybody understood we couldn’t waste a training session. For a young supporter who might have wanted to see fun, games and goals and that sort of thing with a bit more cheering, but it was important that we didn’t lose focus of what we were there to do.

“The lads’ attitude was excellent and the supporters saw a glimpse of the amount of detail that goes into each training session.

“It was important to share that with the coaches too, we invited all the youth coaches into the changing room and I gave them an overview of what our session would look like; for them, hopefully, it’s one or two things which they can take away to help their youth teams.”

On aligning youth team philosophy with the first team:

“It’s important for children, esepecially at a younger age to have an all-around education that would probably include different formations, different styles, different techniques.

“I think the big emphasis has to be on having fun, but when you get to the Under 23s I think that when I think it becomes more aligned to the first team. That’s when you can pick up one or two things in terms of roles and responsibilities, how we want to play, certain areas of the pitch we want to affect, how we want to play out from the back and those sorts of things will come into play more in the latter stages of their development.”

On facing Chelsea at Cobham:

“The whole experience was excellent, right from start to finish Chelsea made us feel welcome. My message to the players was to not be downbeat about the scoreline and to almost take a lot of positives on how they approached the game.

“Chelsea were playing a team that was a lot lower in terms of league status, but for 90 minutes they were relentless; we’re talking international stars who have played numerous games, 267 international caps between them.

“It was a privilege to play against them, I know the scoreline wasn’t great but the fact that we can learn a lesson from how they approach the game is massive. Whether we come up against teams who are below us, it’s an approach that we can take from them and use ourselves.”

On Thomas Tuchel:

“He came across and emphasised the point that we kept going and looked like a team who stuck to our beliefs, he has seen it on numerous occasions where a team doesn’t necessarily stick together and starts pointing the blame at one another.

“He said that “you weren’t going to win the game of football but it’s important how you react”; it was really pleasing to see him come over and take the time out to do that.

“I’m really thankful to Chelsea for putting the fixture on and it gave us an opportunity to have a game, otherwise we’d have gone two weeks without a fixture.”

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