Dick Campbell: Championship survival is the aim

Credit: Arbroath Football Club

Last season when football was curtailed you were sitting in 5th place which is a phenomenal achievement given your budget and part time status. How do you reflect on the season so far? Has it been more challenging with the Covid restrictions and protocols?

Credit: SPFL

First of all, I have to be honest and say that I’m a family man and I don’t feel entirely comfortable with us playing football matches while so many people are dying on a daily basis. I love football as much as anyone and I know that for the fans and my directors playing is the best option. Football is also a great outlet for people during these times but despite that I just worry whether it’s the correct thing to do.

It’s been a difficult time in football for every club whether they are full time or part time. I was never unaware of how tough this season was going to be for us because history tells you that the second season after promotion is always the hardest.

We aren’t a surprise package for teams in this league anymore and everyone now respects what we are about as a football club. I have full time teams playing 4-5-1 against us which shows you that.

That makes a big difference and is shown in our stats. For example, Bobby Linn scored 15 goals last season and he hasn’t scored at all this season.

You mention the respect that other sides within the league are showing you. As a manager, do you take that as a compliment to the work that you’ve done so far with Arbroath?

Definitely. Last night, John Robertson was very complimentary of us on the radio and it’s nice to hear those words. Mind you, we have earned that respect by taking the club from League 2 to the Championship in the manner that we have done. The players deserve a lot of credit for that too of course.

It’s been a good week for the club with a win away at Morton and a draw at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Firstly, on the Morton game, sum up just how important that win was?

Credit: Arbroath Football Club

We absolutely deserved the victory. Anyone who was at the game will tell you that we deserved the win and should have scored more than one. It felt like we had won a cup final when the final whistle went. We played very well.

I’ve brought in four bodies in this window which I normally do and we’ve still got 13 games to go so it’s vital that we fight for every point that we can get between now and then.

You brought four players in as you’ve said. Jack Hamilton is one of those. He’s scored 2 goals in 2 goals. How happy were you to bring him to the club?

Credit: Arbroath Football Club

He’s been very good in both games so far. I spoke to David Martindale last night after the game and he has to be commended for giving Jack to us because he could easily have kept him and let him fight for a place in the Livingston side.

However, he said that he wanted him to learn out on loan again and said to me that I was the manager he wanted him to work with.

Finally Dick, what would your message be to the Arbroath fans for the remainder of the season?

I would like to thank our fans for their support first and foremost because they’re aware of the challenges that we face. Keep supporting us as you’ve always done would be my message.

No team had hammered us this season and we’ve lost mostly by one goal whenever we have lost. That tells you that there isn’t a lot wrong with our side but of course it also tells you that we need to score more goals.

Hopefully, we can break that spell and get ourselves up and running because I’ve good very good players here.

I also want to praise Alloa Athletic and Peter Grant because they’ve stayed in this league for four years and that’s exactly what we want to do. I don’t have any airs or graces about me as you know Callum so for me it’s all about staying in this division. Hearts look like they’ve stolen a march on Dunfermline in terms of automatic promotion but having managed Dunfermline for a number of years, I know that their fans will expect promotion this season too.

Every full time club in this league sets out each year with the aim of promotion with ourselves and Alloa doing all that we can to make the best impact on the league that we can. It’ll be an interesting end to the season as it always is in the Championship.

Published by Callum McFadden

Football CFB founder. Freelance football writer & broadcaster of over 350 interviews with professional players and managers across all levels of football.

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