Yeovil Town goalkeeper Chris Weale spoke to BBC Somerset reporter Dan Albutt as part of their BBC Sports Review of the Year for 2015. The interview was broadcast on Saturday 26th December 2015, with the interview being conducted earlier that month.
CW: It's been difficult although I've always said that no matter what football club you're at, you're always going to have promotions and relegations. For a football club that's only been in the Football League for ten or eleven years, all Yeovil Town fans experienced to start off with was success, because they were a relatively young Football League side. If you ask other football fans, they're going to have gone through promotions and relegations. Only the top sides like Man United and Chelsea have not experienced too many relegations. As a football fan you're going to experience the highs and the lows and that's why football is so entertaining, and people come week-in, week-out because you never know when it's going to happen.
DA: Two managers have gone in the last twelve months, with Gary Johnson first up. Was there a point for you as players that Gary's term was going to come to an end?
CW: That's a good question! Results dictate everything. Football is a business nowadays and if you're not getting the results and you're not getting the three points then there does come a time when the Board of Directors and the Chairman need to look at things and reassess and that's what they did.
DA: It must be tough though as Gary is obviously an icon down in Yeovil. So it must have been tough for you as players, and somebody like you who had played for him before, not just at Yeovil of course, but at other clubs as well. It's difficult isn't it, to see someone in that situation?
CW: Yes and no, really. I guess for me as you get more experienced in football, and you experience more things, you see it a lot. I've seen it a lot in my career now. Managers come and go and that is just what happens now in football, and you don't get given much time. Albeit, I know Gary had a lot of success at the football club and it must have been difficult for the Board of Directors and the Chairman to make that decision. But yes, it had to be made really.
DA: What was the mood like under Gary in his final games? Was it different to what it was normally like?
CW: It wasn't as positive and upbeat as probably it has been. But whoever you are as human beings - you're not robots, you're human beings - emotions do come into play, and if you're losing week-in, week-out emotions do come into play and they're probably going to be negative emotions and not positive ones. So at times it wasn't a great environment to be in as a player. We all live and learn and move on from these situations.
DA: It was probably unexpected - the position that Yeovil were in. From relegation from the Championship, to then follow on to relegation from League One was not really on the cards. You were obviously expecting more as a club.
CW: Yes, without a doubt and the fans were. But it's not easy in football nowadays. It's a professional environment. There are no weak teams in any of the leagues now, and it's a very competitive environment, and if you don't get things right from the start then you will struggle.
DA: What did Paul Sturrock change when he came into the club?
CW: Everything! (laughs) He changed the majority of the players, and the majority of things. But for whatever reason, it didn't work out for him. He changed everything and switched everything around and still didn't get results. I don't know - you'd have to ask him why it didn't work out.
DA: From a player's point of view, how were the styles different between Gary and Paul? Was it a noticeable difference?
CW: Yes, very noticeable. I think that what Paul Sturrock tried to do was to get in experienced players who could probably manage themselves more, and create a winning environment in terms of having a good bunch of more mature experienced players and hopefully creating a winning environment like that. I really felt that his recruitment had been pretty good, and hopefully you will see over the next couple of months and hopefully until the end of the season. We don't deserve to be in this situation, and we've got a very very good squad of players, who are a very very driven bunch, who do want success and are really professional. Then the results will turn. I think it's just unfortunate for Paul Sturrock that the results didn't turn in time, but they will turn because we've got a great bunch, and we've got a great manager to lead us.
DA: What's it like as a player when a manager loses his job? It may be a manager that's brought you to a club, or it may be a manager where you were there before he was. But what's it like when the manager goes?
CW: You can't get too attached to things really, because you know football is a ruthless environment. If you think you're alright under one manager, the next manager may come in and flip things around 100 percent. So you cannot be thinking that as a player. You just have to play every game as it is, no matter who the manager is, from my point of view, because if you go on the pitch and give everything in every game, then it shouldn't really matter who the manager is, albeit that there are tactics and managerial decisions. But as a player, if you play, then you play and it shouldn't really matter apart from the tactics and the day-to-day stuff that goes on.
DA: How have things changed under Darren? Again now it's obviously another manager. The board have given him at least the short term (since turned into the permanent manager's job) but how are things different under Darren Way?
CW: I'm very impressed. It's very structured and very organised, and very passionate. He brings that passion to training and to the games, and I think that's probably what was missing slightly - just that passion for victory and to win games. At times when things aren't going that well you just need that little bit of a spark and a lift, to raise everyone's standards and to get that victory that we do need. I think that it's a very good appointment and a shrewd appointment from the Board of Directors and the Chairman, and hopefully we can get success under Darren.
DA: There's one objective obviously, and it's imperative that Yeovil stay in the Football League.
CW: Without a doubt. You wouldn't have said that at the start of the season this year, but looking at things now at this stage of the season that's probably the number one objective. In a couple of games time, with a couple more wins, then we may look at things differently, but we need those three points, and quickly.
DA: Every relegation is going to be tough to be a part of but I guess as you go down into League Two and the position you're currently in is probably the toughest moment of your career, isn't it?
CW: Yes and no - because I'm fit. The toughest times have been when I've been injured and I've had to battle through those. So it's difficult emotionally and it's very difficult after every game, given how we're playing at the moment, because we're so desperate to do well and for the club to do well. But it's about trying to flip that around and enjoy your football and try to express yourself when you can.
DA: How are you enjoying the coaching role that you've taken on?
CW: I'm really enjoying it. We work really well together - all of us - all the goalkeepers. Everyone knows the situation, that only one of us can play. Artur has been fantastic. He's been really really good this season. I've been really impressed, albeit that he had a couple of wobbly games before he got sent off. But other than that he's been outstanding. We've got two good young goalkeepers, who are the Youth Team goalkeepers, which really helps. The Youth set-up will really help everyone at this football club, and that is a really good decision by the Board of Directors to implement the youth system again.
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