Every word from Jack Ross' first press conference as the new Sunderland manager is introduced
New Sunderland manager Jack Ross faced the media today - and here's everything he had to say.
The Scot was handed the job by Stewart Donald last week and was officially unveiled today after leaving St Mirren.
Here's the full transcript from Ross' first interview as Sunderland boss:
Can you describe your emotions on being appointed Sunderland manager, and was it a big decision?
I think taking the second part of the question to begin with, it was a big decision for me simply because I loved the job I was doing so much. I had a really enjoyable time at St Mirren, I was very happy in the job and I was looking forward to the challenges of managing in the Scottish Premiership. However, when this opportunity presents itself at a club of this magnitude and stature, and probably the timing of it in terms of the potential and opportunity to try and take the club forward again, that was so appealing. I think the overwhelming emotion is excitement. It's nice to be back in the country and nice to be at work. Having seen the stadium earlier today and the training ground, it gives me the best possible platform to try and be successful as a manager and there will be no excuses from my side. I'm looking forward to getting started properly tomorrow.
READ: Contacts will be key for Jack RossYour name was linked with other clubs in the last six months or so here in England, so did Stewart Donald have to sell you this club?
I was in no real rush to leave the job I was in and it's been a new experience for me because when you enjoy a period of success on the pitch it probably brings opportunities earlier than I might have imagined. I didn't feel as if any of them were the right fit at the right time. This, from the outside looking in, felt a little bit like it. However, I was aware of some of the circumstances surrounding the club in recent times but when Stewart and Charlie spoke to me they laid out a vision that was consistent with what I'd done at previous clubs and something that I felt was the right opportunity at the right time. Probably the biggest thing about it is that it just feels right. I'll have to adapt how I've worked previously because of the league and the size of the club, but a lot of the core aspects will remain the same. Hopefully that will allow me to take the club forward.
For those fans who might not know what you've achieved north of the border, how would you describe yourself as a manager and your footballing philosophy?
I've been fortunate that post-playing I've been involved in a few different coaching roles. I've been an assistant and I've been in charge of the under-20s at Hearts before I went into management into management in its own right. That probably allowed me to develop my approach to it. I always wanted to manage and I believed I could do it straight from playing. If I had done, I might not have lasted very long because I've certainly evolved over that period of time. What I've understood is that recruitment is so key to what a manager does. I think putting a group together who will buy in to what you want to do as a manager is key. But I've always seen my job as making people better, making players better, and I've never really come away from that. I love working on the pitch as a coach and if you make players better individually then you have a good chance of making your team successful as well. That will remain and I've never really been in fear of the job. I'll do the job to the absolute best of my abilities and this, as I mentioned earlier, gives me a really good platform to do that.
REVEALED: Jack Ross confirms where he will look for signingsYou've mentioned recruitment there and we'll all acutely aware of the experiences of the last few years. What's been said to you about the funds that will be made available and how difficult do you expect the marketplace to be?
I only arrived back in the country a couple of days ago and at the club today, so that process starts in earnest from tomorrow because a lot of the conversations we've had have been about making sure that I could get here, that it worked and that it was consistent with Stewart and Charlie's vision for the club. What I would say though, without shying away from the question completely, is that its naive to say that we won't be in a period of transition. I think that's obvious to everybody. We have to do a lot of work in a short period of time to try and get things in place for the start of pre-season. But that in itself is exciting. It's a new start, if you like. Not necessarily a complete change in personnel but in general. So that process will continue over the course of the next days and hopefully in the next few weeks you'll get a more exciting answer than the one I've just given you.
Is there a certain degree of 'clean slate' about this job?
I think that was probably a big part of the appeal. I think the appeal of Sunderland as a club in general is big and you've mentioned some of the managers that have been here and the profile they've had as players and managers. But I think that timing of it is really key and that appeals for me. The opportunity to try and make my own stamp on things from the playing side and then try and influence the relationship between the the club, the supporters and playing side in general, I've always viewed that as my responsibility. I don't think that changes because you're at a bigger club. I think that core aspect should remain. I certainly think timing-wise it feels right for me to come here at this time.
Depending on who leaves the club during this transfer window, you may be inheriting some player on big salaries. Will you have to integrate them with younger players on much lower salaries?
The absolute position on that will become clearer in the coming weeks. In management, none of the jobs I've taken on have been easy or in easy circumstances. There's always been challenges and different ones in that period of time. This one is a different one and a newer one for me to overcome but if I didn't feel as if I could do it then I wouldn't have taken it on. Bringing a squad of players together is the ultimate challenge for every manager and getting them, first of all, to trust in what I do and then to trust in eachother. That will probably be a big part of my job over the next two months to create that within the group and enable them to take that on to the pitch. That's ultimately where you'll be judged as a manager and where things haven't went as well over the last couple of seasons.
It's 14 years since your season at Hartlepool so a lot has changed. How do you see the transition between what you've been doing in Scottish football to the EFL?
It's a good question because it's a question, when I chatted with Stewart and Charlie, that I wouldn't shy away from as I haven't managed in England. There was never going to be an answer I could give to that question that would give absolute comfort. But what I have done is learned quickly and adapted quickly to the environments I've been in and immersed myself in that league. At the moment, the challenge is to immerse myself in League One because that is where we are at the moment. There's no point in having delusions of grandeur over where the club should be because this is where are now. The challenge that lies ahead is to get out of League One so I need to learn about the league quickly and understand how to build a squad that will be capable of doing that. I do find it quite exciting. I enjoy the problem-solving side of management and it's exciting.
We've got an earlier transfer window this year - are you at all worried about that or do you feel being appointed just before June you've got plenty of time?
I think there's still time. Every manager would say that when you're in the flow of a club, so the job I've just left for example, there's a good flow to that because you're in a position where your recruitment process starts long before the summer window. What it is now is a challenge for me to pick up as much information. The information is there, it's just digesting it as quickly as I can and leaning on the people that I trust in terms of who will give me information on potential signings and finding the right characters that will suit the challenges that lie ahead.
RUMOURS: Who have Sunderland been linked with?You mentioned that you've evolved through your managerial career, do you feel that Sunderland are now at a point where they need to evolve?
I think timing-wise, yes. There has to be connection between a fanbase that's there, and has remained pretty consistent through testing times. Their connection with what goes on on the pitch has probably lessened over recent seasons. Not through one person or one individuals fault, I think just through a set of circumstances. When I took over at St Mirren, that club at the time, there was a disconnect between what was happening on the pitch and the people who came to watch the club. You have to try and get that right, because if you get that right you have something that has a real momentum in it. Here, it becomes even more powerful because of the numbers that will come and support the club. So yeah, I do think its a period of evolution for the club and it's a period that the club could use to reconnect. You could point to cases around the world where clubs have done it and recognised what they're about as a community and a club and they've built from there. They've never lost it when they've had success, and that would be the key aspect of it as well. Hopefully that's a challenge that lies ahead.
Given the amount of work to do, is it a good thing you've already been on holiday?
It was a holiday of sorts! It certainly didn't quite pan out as the holiday I'd imagined and getting some peace. I don't think I'm getting another one for a while yet.
You know the Scottish market very well from your time up there, do you think that's something you would look to tap in to?
It's something I would be keen to explore but I think I'm also conscious that I wouldn't want to make that the foundations on which I built a squad. I think that's something you have to be careful of coming from another country and filling the squad with players that don't understand what it takes to win the league that we now find ourselves in. You could say that about the homegrown players at Sunderland now, it's about finding the right mix that can win this league. But there are good players in Scotland and I think the game up there is a lot better people sometimes believe it is. There's undoubtedly players that could make that transition and if that interest becomes any more concrete, it's not a bad sell we've got. It's a really big club and a really good club and one which hopefully players could progress through the levels at as well.