Taylor gears Diss up for new challenges
Diss boss Rob Taylor became chief scout of a different variety as the Tangerines pre-season got under way.
Taylor hosted a training camp at Brewers Green Lane ground at the weekend, complete with barbecue, bingo and plenty of hard work to brush away the summer cobwebs.
And Taylor believes the bonding exercise went down a treat with players, both established and in the youth ranks, as day one of a new campaign in the Ridgeon's League Premier Division beckons for one of last season's Division One success stories.
'The feedback was excellent,' he said. 'I was delighted with how it all went. Lots of people joined in and it was worthwhile.
'We came in about 9.45am on Saturday and trained all day.
'We finished training at about 5pm and when we'd finished the club laid on a barbecue for the lads at six and then we had some games with the club committee members and that kind of thing – we played bingo with all the committee in the bar.
'There must have been about 60 or 70 people there in the bar.
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'We had a few drinks with them and left there about 10, went in town for a couple of drinks, came back, camped overnight at the back of the stand and trained again on Sunday morning – after the committee had made us bacon rolls, orange and coffee.'
'It all ended around mid-day.'
Taylor has placed plenty of emphasis on youth and a family atmosphere at Diss, and the policy appears to be working.
'Some of the boys are still on holiday, but it is about getting together. We had some young lads come along as well, newcomers to the club, and they enjoyed it. They are lads who want to get involved and they said how good it was and how happy they were that the first team players were talking to them – but as I said to them, they are probably only two or three years older than you.
'There are no big-time Charlies here so that was never an issue – we had a couple of lads come up from Bury with their parents who stayed to watch us train.'
Meanwhile, Taylor is targeting a top-10 finish for Diss in the Ridgeons League Premier Division – but says there will be no major changes to his playing staff.
The Diss manager led the Tangerines to promotion to the top flight last season and knows the new campaign will be one of consolidation.
Taylor works, willingly, against a background of tight purse strings at Brewers Green Lane, but believes the players who proved so successful last season can do a job for him again this time around.
It's a formula which has worked well for him since he took over three years ago - enthusiastic young players who turn out for the love of the game rather than the money.
'We have achieved quite a lot here,' said Taylor. 'I've been here three years now. The first year was to try and cut the budget down as much as we could and we did that by getting rid of players who were on a lot of money.
'The second year was to build a side to get up in three years time – we did that with the side we have got now in two years. I gave myself three years to achieve something at the club – we won the Division One League Cup and now we have got promoted, so we've won two things in three years, which is good on my part and good on the football club's part.
'We have a young team down here and now that we are up we have just got to try and achieve more. If we could establish ourselves as a top-half of the table team next year then we can look at pushing on the following year.
'To do that we need to adapt ourselves, but I have always thought we play better against better teams and we hope that will stand us in good stead for the season.'
Taylor has lost midfielders Luke Catchpole, who is away in Australia and may not be available until December, and Jon Abbott, who is off to university in Derby, which means he will have to scout around for replacements.
'I think we will stick with the side we have now, even though we may have to add have to add two or three to it, which is hard because of the money side of things,' said Taylor.
'There is a lot of money going around at the moment in this kind of football and you just can't match what people have got and what clubs who already up there are offering. We operate in a quiet way and a cheap way – we haven't got much, but the club has been good and we have to go with what we have got.
'But I do feel we have got enough there just to have a go at finishing in that top 10 or top six – you never know.
'Things might change in December or January time – if we are doing well the club might give us more. And while we will give the boys who got the club promoted a chance – that's only fair on them – if things do get tough by the turn of the year then we will have to look at it again.
'There's a good feel about the place, and that's how I like it.'