Dave Gourlay, languishing on the sidelines for varying reasons, decided to grill his General Manager, Sangha, with some Jeremy Paxman like questions.
Q/ Sassco has been running over 10 years now, how do you feel about the brand & did you think you would have made more progress or have you been encouraged by what you have achieved?
I’m quite encouraged to be honest with you. We’ve reached an off field standard that no other amateur team at our level could possibly hope to match. We’ve had our own custom kit, custom footballs, high quality match videos, overseas tours, give away badges, full history since day one and the best website anyone can hope to have. The idea for Sassco.co.uk was always to use the website as the focal point for everything we do and we’ve achieved that.
Q/ Do you still have any aspirations that you are hoping to achieve?
Hoping to win a trophy, but I won’t bring in specialists just to do that. We’ve always been strict on people paying up subs, turning up and helping with nets. I’ve simply been uninterested in certain players because they’re not the ‘Sassco’ type. Anyone not conforming usually sees the exit door rapidly.
Q/ How do you feel this 11-a side season has faired this season & do you consider that we have a good squad or do you think it has diminished over the years?
This season has been quite poor. We had a good run, then Wayne Greenwell decided to go under the thumb and not respond to texts, so there was a bit of instability. However, his replacement, Pearson, had his hands tied by a shocking injury list after the transfer and signing deadline. However, Pearson is far more on the ball than his predecessor and is in constant contact about the squad line up as well as giving more impressive team talks. We always try and get reliable players more than top quality superstars.
Q/ With this in mind, are you happy that Sassco have not achieved much on the field? Or does this not motivate you?
It doesn’t keep me awake at night, mainly because I know that winning at our level isn’t the big thing people make it out to be. I’d ask you to list the winners of our division and the above division for the last three seasons. I’d also ask you to name the cup winners. It’s something you’d have to look up. However, everyone knows about Sassco, because the website is rammed down everyone’s throat.
Q/ A big issue this season has been postponed games, can you comment on whether or not the team will be changing their home pitch to more suitable grounds such as Biddick or gateshead 3G?
This season was a shocker. Unfortunately 3G pitches are way too expensive. An average of £50 a game. We would have to increase subs to around £3 per match and even £4, which is quite scary, but then again, some five-a-side that I’ve been playing recently has costed £3.50 and £3.80
Q/ This season has seen a number of changes in terms of admin, coaches & team selectors, what do you put this down to & can you see the ship being steadied now?
The back end is reasonably stable as despite Brian Watson controlling all the paperwork, I also know the procedures. This means more work for me, but I will be delegating tasks in the close season if we can’t get a new team sec. Greenwell stepped up and performed well as coach despite an atrocious start, but then the thumb struck. Mick Pearson, as mentioned is much more a hands-on coach which is what Sassco needed. Also, there is always an interim coach and others to take over if for any reason we lose the coach. I still have my trusty Asst. Manager, McDermont and Finance Controller, Muers, who tend to assist in most activities.
Q/ Sassco has had two very succesful trips to Europe, can you see the brand being taken to any other continents?
The USA Tour of 2012 is the big one. It’s Spain this year and Cyprus in 2011 (possibly Italy), but a full week tour to the States would be the culmination of everything we’ve hoped for.