Interview: Darvel Manager Michael Kennedy

We recently caught up with Darvel manager Michael Kennedy to speak about the buzz around the club’s recent signings and much more. You can listen to Kennedy’s full interview with Lewis Michie below, or read it further down the page:

Twitter was buzzing this weekend with debate around the signings Darvel have been making as of late. They’ve just gained promotion to the Premier Division of the West of Scotland League – one tier down from the Lowland League.

However, they’ve added Ian McShane from Falkirk, left-back Jordan Allan from Stranraer and Jordan Kirkpatrick comes in from Forfar Athletic.

Kennedy says it was mostly positive and they aren’t too worried about any negative reaction:

“When we started to look at recruitment back round about December, January, we always knew there’d be a few names in there that could cause an uproar. Positive as well to be fair, I think 90% of the reaction has been positive.”

We also spoke to the Darvel gaffer about the type of signings the club have looked to get, why they’ve targeted the players they have, and if more incomings are possible:

“We are trying to bring players in from a level above, in the prime age of their career. I wasn’t really expecting the reaction we’ve had over the last few days.

If you look at the recruitment so far – even the boys we’ve brought in from this level as well – all really gifted football players who’ve had impressive careers to this point. One of the important things is their age, we are always really cautious that we set out a robust recruitment plan – we wanted to build a squad that is capable of staying together for a few years.

I think there is maybe potentially room for one or two others. Right now we are fairly settled, we’ve spoken to one or two targets that obviously didn’t work out. Unfortunately there is a lot of uncertainty for part-time footballers right now, and maybe in the next three-four weeks we will have a better idea landscape-wise.”

While structural change has been impossible in the SPFL in recent years, a lot is changing directly below the pyramid. The Lowland League now has promotion and relegation, linking to the new West of Scotland and East of Scotland set-ups, made up of former Junior teams.

Kennedy feels these changes have benefited the game overall:

“The difference now with the new league structure is when you’re sitting down with players and discussing a vision then they can see a bit of a journey. We can now maybe go through a couple of leagues. That’s an important part in selling the club.”

Of course Darvel are one of the club’s benefiting from these changes the most, moving up a division already, and many are now tipping them to gain promotion to the Lowland League this year, and according to Kennedy, that’s what they hope to do:

“There was a three year plan always in place when I came in. The plan this year is ultimately to try and win the division and progress in to the Lowland League. Everyone is aware how difficult that could be with the quality of the opposition but that’s the aspiration.”

Darvel, just like many other clubs, still don’t know when their 20/21 season will kick-off. Nonetheless, it’s sure to be an interesting one from the club – NE98 wishes Michael and everyone at Darvel luck for the season, whenever it gets underway.

And if you feel like a trip to Ayrshire to have a look at the team everyone has their eyes on when the season does eventually get underway, what kind of football can you expect? Here’s what Kennedy told us:

“I think anybody that knows myself and has worked alongside me would tell you we look to set out to dominate the ball and set high demands for our players and expect high energy.”

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