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Paul Hartley Interview


Ludo*1

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Cracking interview by Graham Spiers (I know, I know!) with Paul Hartley, well worth a read: Link.

I've copy and pasted the article from the Herald below, but it might be a bit blocky.

PAUL HARTLEY is a risk-taker.

PAUL HARTLEY is a risk-taker.

As a football manager he doesn't waver in going into areas where he knows things could go wrong. He trusts his judgment. It is a quality that is serving Dundee extremely well so far, and may well end up serving Hartley's career even better.

"I feel I have a lot of conviction about myself," he says. "I know what I want, and I make my decisions. Plus, I work very, very hard at my job. Nothing comes without hard work, I really believe that. It's in my nature, I've always worked hard at my football. I think you have to. I'm in here first thing, I'm often at it until last thing, and yes, there is stress in the job, and it is 24/7, but it is a job I love. This is the only way to be a success at it, you can't switch off."

With this self-belief and determination, Hartley has only been in football management for three full seasons, and has led his sides to promotion in each one of them. At Alloa, they marvelled at their young manager sometimes working 80 hours a week at a part-time club while leading them through the divisions. Then came his appointment as Dundee manager in February 2014, overseeing the club's promotion to the Premiership as champions.

All the time, though, Hartley seeks improvement and progress, for himself and for his club.

"I've tried to change and improve everything at Dundee: the standard of player, the expectations, the quality of our work, our video analysis, everything," he says. "There has been quite a turnover of player in my 14 months here. I think, when we went up last year, maybe some people here thought, 'right, survival, just survive in the top flight, that's what we want.' But I actually wanted something a bit better than that. And now that we are in the top-six I want it to keep going. I want us to finish better than 'just in the top-six' and I believe we can.

"How high can I take Dundee? I don't know. But why can't we be a top-four club in Scotland? There is no reason why we can't be. I'm not saying we can win the league, I think Celtic in the current situation will always do that. But we can certainly be a top-four club. And I want us to win a trophy. Look at Caley Thistle and Falkirk right now - one of them is going to do that this season."

Yesterday Hartley spent some time doing what he appears to do best: plucking young or peripheral players from the lower divisions or elsewhere, and bringing them to Dundee, and infusing them with confidence. Nicky Low, at 23 a bit out of things at Aberdeen, is just the latest to be added.

Falkirk's Rory Loy and Daryll Meggatt from Alloa are already on their way to Dens, with Scott Bain and Greg Stewart outstanding examples of Hartley's belief in signing either unknown or unsung players.

"I think - and I hope - I've got an eye for a player," he says. "I'm certainly not scared of going down the leagues and seeing someone and bringing him into the top flight. I've done that so far with guys like Scott Bain and Greg Stewart, and now we've got Nicky Low - a slightly different case - coming in as well.

"I think there is tremendous value in the lower leagues. Plus, there are some very good players down there. I go to scores of lower league matches to scout players. Many of them can make the step up, they just need the chance, and many of them have a point to prove. Yes, there is an element of risk about it, but my view is, just about every transfer for a manager is a risk. You have to trust your judgment in these things."

An example of Hartley trusting his own judgment came when Cardiff City requested permission to speak to him about their vacant manager's job last September. In the blink of an eye, he turned the chance down, despite a vastly superior wage and football environment being on offer, feeling utterly convinced it was not for him.

"I wasn't even sorely tempted," says Hartley. "I knew that this was the job for me at Dundee. I felt, I'm still a relatively young manager, I've only been in management for four years, I've still got loads to learn. One or two people said to me, 'but why not take the opportunity?' Well, fine, that's life. I want to have success here at Dundee first. I really enjoy this job, I love coming into work every day. I know I did the right thing."

There seems to be a happy blend at Dens Park right now which is also enabling this gifted young manager to thrive. Hartley points to an ambience at the club not always known in recent years.

"I've got a great working environment here, with people at the club who trust me and believe in me. I've got a great working relationship with John Nelms, our managing director, and with the chairman, Bill Colvin. Finally, at Dundee, you've got everyone singing from the same hymn-sheet after all these years of instability and administration. It's a great place, this is a great club."

Tomorrow night at Dens another packed house will watch Dundee take on Celtic as the 2014/15 Premiership canters to its conclusion. The Dundee fans worship at Hartley's feet and set out for Dens these days knowing that their team is bright and resourceful and, more often than not, pleasing on the eye.

"Celtic have got better players - there's no question," he says. "So it's simple: we have to work harder than them, use the ball well when we've got it, and take our chances. And believe we can win. Of course we can win, after the season we have had. As a club, we're in the top six, but we're not content with that. We want to finish as high up this league as possible."

Gordon Strachan once said: "You can trust Paul Hartley on a football pitch." Seemingly, that trustworthiness also now extends to the manager's office.

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As you say Ludo ........"Cracking interview"

There is far too much in that interview to go through it all. And comment on the great deal that PH has said there.

But I can see why his dedication and honest approach has invigorated the BOD, Club, Staff, on and off the field.

He has certainly invigorated me, and all DFC supporters. Good stuff PH. Thank you. Good times are ahead  :)

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