Nathan Brooks interview – West Kirby F.C.

West Kirby F.C manager interview.

The lower leagues of football is something that I feel deserves more attention, with the amount of untapped talent and action that are packed into games up and down the country. 

Thus, following West Kirby’s appointment of manager Nathan Brooks I caught up with him to discuss his coaching journey so far and what he plans on bringing to the team that he has very recently inherited. 

Nathan, first of all congratulations on becoming West Kirby FC’s manager. How would you describe your coaching journey so far?

I began coaching at 16 years old. I’ve coached at every age group in junior football with various grassroots clubs. I have coached county representative squads and became involved with talent recognition for local professional clubs. 

In 2018, I began coaching senior football as an Assistant Manager with West Kirby FC (West Cheshire Division 1). I then went on to become 1st team manager at Rhos Aelwyd (Welsh National League Division 1), Reserve Team Manager at Heswall FC & I have now returned to West Kirby FC as 1st Team Manager (West Cheshire Division 2).

I would describe my coaching journey as varied. I think this has had a very positive impact on the way I coach & manage situations. Every person I have met in football has taught me something, good and/or bad. As a relatively young football manager, you don’t tend to get easy or attractive jobs so having a large bank of positive & negative experiences has really helped.

Where would you say West Kirby’s current position is in comparison to those of teams that you have coached or managed in the past? Is this a step up that you are happy to be taking? What were the key factors in you wanting to become manager at the club?

I have been at the lower end of a league table before as a coach, manager & a supporter unfortunately. What is unique for me in this situation is the timing, needless to say it is much harder to implement change in the middle of the season. For me, West Kirby is a huge club with a proud history in the West Cheshire League. So having the opportunity to become involved was a very easy decision to make. I know the committee and respect what they have done for the club so the challenge of rebuilding a squad to compete in Division 2 was very attractive.

Touching on the team and the characteristics/skills that you want to teach the group of players you’ve taken on. How would you describe the team’s qualities, in comparison to those that they share the league with and what are you looking to implement on them in your time at the club?

I would say that the most common similarity in each of the players in the squad is that they all have a good level of football intelligence! I am confident that many of them will go to coach/manage themselves. This quality will play a big part in us achieving our points target, in the context of where we are currently placed in the West Cheshire 2nd Division. Many of our opponents will be much further down the road in what they want to achieve, so we will need to adapt quickly to manage difficult situations during matches. By the start of next season, I am hopeful that we will be able to identify as one of the fittest, hardworking & organised teams in the division.

What would you say is a realistic ambition for this season and then touching on the next and the one after that? Do you tend to have a three year aim in the lower leagues or is it a case of looking at the next match, although that is a cliche, and aiming to build success whether that be through promotion or building a team with solid foundations?

At this moment, the main ambition for West Kirby is to remain in the West Cheshire Division 2.

In terms of targets, I prefer to work on averages. I will set targets for the team, based on goals and points per game, usually at the beginning of a season. And use that as a narrative throughout the campaign. Any football manager, at any level doesn’t have the luxury of looking 3 years ahead of time. But, I also find it unhealthy to ‘take one game at a time’. The saying “you are never as good as you think you are after a win, and you are never as bad as you think you are after a loss” sticks with me. So, with that in mind, using averages to monitor progression really helps me as a manager to keep things in context.

How would you describe your coaching style and what can we expect from a West Kirby FC team that is managed by yourself?

I take an Holistic approach to coaching. I enjoy working with players closely and understanding what motivates them as individuals. In terms of what people can expect from us as a group, I would say that at this moment in time we need to focus on being pragmatic in matches. So, having one set style of play won’t be on the agenda.

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