‘Pre-season is the busiest and most important time’

Dean Brennan, right, celebrates Hemel's title win. Picture (c) Tony Conway
Dean Brennan, right, celebrates Hemel's title win. Picture (c) Tony Conway

While the summer is a time for football players to wind down and relax after a gruelling campaign, it is all systems go for managers around the country as they prepare for the next season.

Hemel Town FC boss Dean Brennan is no exception, and he has been telling the Gazette about his pre-season schedule as the Tudors get ready for life in the Conference South.

He said: “The end of the season is the start of the players’ summer break, but for me as the manager it’s the busiest and the most important part of the season.

“It’s were I lay down the foundations for the start of the new campaign – getting the coaching staff in place, retaining the current squad, recruiting new players or maybe even new staff.

“It’s vital to achieve this as early as possible so that when pre-season comes around I get the opportunity to work on the training ground with the players from day one.

“Everybody from physio team, management team to players will have their roles outlined to them on returning to work in early July.

“For players as individuals, pre-season is the most important part of the season, too. Ask any top player and they will tell you that getting a full pre-season under your belt is the key to having a successful individual season.

“A player that gets injured in pre-season is always playing catch up, and even at the highest level this happens; you just have to look at Gareth Bale as a prime example. He missed pre-season last year and it took him a couple of months to get into the flow of things at Real Madrid. But I suppose it worked out not too bad for him after he scored a decisive goal in the Champions League final!

“For me the manager, it’s about building the players up over a six-week period, preparing them physically to reach peak fitness. But I also focus on the player’s mental approach to what I expect from them individually, while also transferring the team’s attacking philosophy across to the whole squad within training sessions.

“I prefer to have lots of games in pre-season, as I feel that there is no better fitness than match fitness.

“OK we all know that preseason games are a bit false in the sense that they are not played at competitive match tempo, but it’s also key for the players to try stay injury free. The pre-season base of fitness holds the players in good stead over the 40-week season.

“I personally wanted to take the first three weeks in June off, but it has not worked out like that. Since the season finished for us on April 26 I have been working on.

“My first meeting was with the chairman to discuss the plans for the new season. Budgets, players’ contracts, sponsorships, the new stand, new kit, our pre-season match schedule, what the club expects from me and what I expect from the club.

“I have had individual meetings with all of our current playing squad, with 17 of the squad committing to new contracts. Also I had individual meetings with the coaching staff and physio team to iron out the plans for the club and tie up their deals, too.

“When the play-offs are fully finished that is when we can attempt to start recruiting new players. We have had four main targets and, so far, we have signed two – central midfielder Wes Daly from Basingstoke and creative wide player James Potton from Chesham, which I’m delighted with. We have two other irons the fire and I expect them to last all the way up to when pre-season starts.

“I have managed to sneak 12 days off for a little holiday down to my good friend and goalkeeping coach Gary Levy’s house in the south of France but I’m back for the Southern League presentation in Torquay on June 21.

“After that it will be work as usual and I can’t wait to get started.”