Assistant Head Coach Steven Whittaker sat down with the media on Friday morning and had his first interview since joining Fleetwood Town, talking about his playing and coaching career, as well as his relationship with Head Coach Scott Brown.
The 37-year-old arrived at Town following a spell as First Team Coach at Scottish Championship side Dunfermline after a playing career spanning almost 500 senior games.
Here’s what Steven had to say in his interview:
On getting the role of Assistant Head Coach…
“I’m delighted to be able to come down here and get this opportunity, it’s a big club and a great place for us to get started. We will put in the hard work, get the team together, and, hopefully, go on to have a successful season.
“As the job started getting a little bit closer, we started doing our homework in terms of looking at what we have to work with and the changes we might make so there is a lot to do and sort, but we are up for the challenge. It is all about the hard work you put into it in regards to what you get back so we are ready for the challenge and are looking forward to it.
“You hear about the club’s amazing facilities and see pictures online, but until you actually come here and see them, you realise that it’s every player's dream and platform they would need to improve themselves. We can put it all into place, run the building and get the players on the pitch to do the tactical stuff, but as long as the players have that drive, the facilities are there for them.
“When we both talk about football, it’s mostly similar ideas as we’ve played under some top coaches over the years. There will be bits that we’ll have different opinions on, but Scott is the manager, he will have the deciding say. It’s my job to challenge things I’m not sure on and that is how it’s going to work.”
On getting fully involved with the squad…
“As we are younger coaches, I think we can have a more personable relationship with the players as we are just out of the changing rooms. We know what it’s like to be sitting on the other side of things and hopefully, that will help us in the decisions we make for the squad.
“Scott [Brown] was a winner on the park, and we are hoping that this will come across to the team is going to manage here at Fleetwood. Off the pitch, he’s bubbly, friendly, and gets along with everyone – completely different from what you may have seen of him as a footballer – he’s a top guy.
“I joined in training here and there at my last job, but we will be able to mainly focus on organising the team.”
On his relationship with Scott Brown…
“I met Scott [Brown] when I was 17, I had been at Hibs [Hibernian] for a season and he then came in as he’s a year younger than me. That’s the first time we met, we knew a bit about each other from the younger age groups, but that was the first time seeing him on a daily basis in training.
“We came through the youth setup together and that was it, we were best of mates in what was a really good group back then in the youth team and we both still keep in touch with a lot of those boys as well. In the same summer, Scott signed for Celtic, and I signed for Rangers.
“You saw both Scott and me when we crossed the white line with one thing on our minds, you just have to go and try to win for the club you are playing for, and we both respected that – it was business if you like. Afterward, you would say a quick well done but would be back on the phone or out for a couple of beers after the game or whatever.
“It helps that the wives and kids all get along. We go on holidays together and spend a lot of time together so that relationship is there, we trust each other which is a big part of football as you know someone out there has your back so, all in all, we are ready to go and looking forward to it.”