Club Remains Cautious But Optimisitc
The club held it's first fans forum in 18 months on Tuesday night and with Dario Gradi and chairman John Bowler amongst the attendees, it gave fans the chance to put questions towards those at the top of the club.
Thankfully for the club, though not a complete coincidence, the forum fell during our longest unbeaten run in the league since 1995 so things were far less frosty than they would have been some six months ago.
Top of the agenda was where the club was heading, how long Dario would be in the job for and who is there to take over (again). Typically, and rightfully, the club played it safe. As we've long known, there'll be no throwing money to gamble on achieving promotion.
On the night Dario said:
'People talk about ambition and I look at the Conference and see a whole host of clubs who had ambition.
If ambition means you spend money that you don't have then that isn't the ambition for me.
'That is a sure way of going out of business. Once you go into the Conference you usually stay there.
'I won't carry on forever but I am healthy and know I am a better manager than I was three years ago. At the moment I am the best man for the job and if I thought there was someone out there and prepared to come here and do the job better than I would happily step aside.
'If it came down to it and the club were looking for a successor then Steve Davis would be one of the outstanding candidates for the job.'
Turning the attentions to the current playing squad, Dario revealed that the three major signings of recent years - Joel Grant, Clayton Donaldson and Calvin Zola - would all be offered reduced terms once their contracts expire in the summer. Dario expects the three of them to depart.
The trio cost close to £500,000 to bring to the club and the return in that investment has been poor to say the least for a League Two club.
On the goalkeeping situation, Dario said it will come to a head at Christmas once Steve Phillips is fully match fit and ready to play. However, Dario revealed that loanee Rhys Taylor could be recalled at any time Chelsea wish - even if it's just so Chelsea can send him on loan to a higher league.
Dario also spoke of the trouble in keeping the new crop of kids at the club. The likes of Nick Powell and Max Clayton have been linked with big money moves for a couple of years already, and they're barely 16. Dario, however, reiterated that there will be no chance of them being sold till they've served their time in the Crewe Alex first team.
"I won't sell them because seeing them come through to play in Crewe's first-team is what it is all about. It what keeps me going. I think Crewe fans accept that we sell our best players if they see them go and play on the TV for another club.
'We all take pride in that. I don't think they would get that feeling if we let Nick Powell leave when he hasn't even started a game for us.
'I want our supporters to enjoy coming to the games and watching them play for us before they more on. We have to get enjoyment out of it after putting the work in.'
Finally, John Bowler said that the at this time the club's future is secure but they won't be resting on their laurels.
The chairman said: 'The board and everyone at the club has been very strong and disciplined on spending. The recession is really biting in this country, especially in the lower leagues and we have to be cautious and look to cut costs.
'We are financially sound but in this age we cannot take anything for granted.'
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