John Ward On His Time At Town

Last updated : 25 January 2008 By Thetashkentterror

John Ward
Blues boss John Ward spoke to the Gloucestershire Echo about the four years he spent as manager of Cheltenham between 2003 and 2007, Ward mentioning his last match in charge of the Robins - a 3-0 defeat away to Port Vale :

"I never really got the chance to say thanks to the fans before I left. If the team and supporters are together and success happens, everyone has played their part. I made no secret about the fact that the Cheltenham fans did that.

"When we had the place rocking like we did for the Wycombe play-off semi-final, it was special. If I can pop a wave across to the fans and say thanks for that I will do, because I enjoyed it as much as they did. I don't expect anything, but if I was given a good reception by them it would mean a lot to me.

"Personally, it will be nice to meet up with some old friends, but professionally, we are trying to win a game of football. I am looking forward to both sides of it. I have been at Carlisle long enough to see it as my workplace, but you can't take away the fact that we had four very enjoyable years at Cheltenham. It was good fun as well as a decent job done.

"I regard a lot of the people there as friends, but that will be put to one side because for a couple of hours we will try to win a game of football and that's our job. I have absolutely no doubt that when the game finishes, there will be a glass of dry white wine sat waiting for me, no matter how the result went.

"I stood next to Keith (Downing) in the dugout at Port Vale with two minutes to go, at 3-0 down and with ten men, and said to him, 'I am leaving you in a bit of a mess here, mate', He had a wry smile on his face and said, 'Yeah, thanks for that John', so we had that conversation out of the sides of our mouths.

"He picked it up from there because it was in a bit of a mess, it needed a lot of work doing and he has done it. Keith has recruited well, changing it around and putting his own imprint on it pretty quickly. He was exceptionally close to me while I was at Cheltenham and he is still a very good friend.

"We ran the club together and I have never claimed to have done things on my own. Keith shared the ambition, the desire and offered alternative opinions. I listened to his opinion with great respect and he deserved his chance as manager. He has made a really good fist of it so far and I have no doubt that he will continue to do so."