West Ham legend Julian Dicks is honoured to return to the club as the new manager of the ladies’ team. The former defender is full of ambition, commitment and is already making a positive impact on the club, players and staff.
Julian has recently returned from America where he has spent three years coaching women’s football.
Dicks talks to Women’s Soccer United about his new challenge as West Ham Ladies’ manager, the commitment he expects from his players and his ambitions for the club.
Women’s Soccer United: How did the opportunity arise to become the new West Ham Ladies’ manager?
Julian Dicks: Stacey Little (West Ham Ladies’ captain) put on Twitter “If you think that Julian Dicks should be the new ladies’ manager, retweet.” So I retweeted it and it went from there really. I spoke to Stacey and I spoke to Ray the Chairman and it just blossomed from there.
You spent many years playing for West Ham. What are your fondest memories from your time at the club and how does it feel to return as manager of the Ladies’ team?
I was there for a 11 years in two spells, it’s an absolutely fantastic club there is not really just one thing that stands out I was just lucky enough to play for such a great club. I was captain for eight of the 11 years I played for them, the other three I was injured. For me, it’s an absolutely fantastic club, the supporters are magnificent. To go back and be associated with the club again is a fantastic honour.
Are the West Ham men’s and women’s teams well connected?
No it’s not, I mean we had a meeting last week with West Ham, they haven’t backed them for the last 2 years so obviously I have gone in there and we are trying to change that and they said they are going to help us, which is a good step in the right direction and hopefully we can build a lot of bridges along the way.
How different is this new challenge compared to your previous experiences in managerial roles?
Certainly different, I was the manager of Grays and at Wivenhoe and to be honest when the blokes are not doing their job you can let rip at them which is going to be different for the ladies but I am learning all the time and we have a good bunch of women, they work hard in training and that is all I ask for really. In games, as long as they work hard I’ll have no problems with them but we all have bad games, we all make mistakes that’s part of football but for me there is no excuses for not working hard so as long as they do that we will be fine.
What players in your team have impressed you so far during pre-season training?
To be honest we only started on Tuesday and on the last three Sunday’s I have coached them as well.
They have all shown they want to work hard. Obviously pre-season can be a horrendous time, I used to hate pre-season but the girls are putting themselves in there, we have been doing quite a bit of running, sprinting and everything else and they are working hard and for me that is good, it shows me that they want to improve, they want to get fit so there is not really one person that stands out yet, when the games come along it will be a lot easier to tell.
What qualities are you looking for to strengthen your existing squad?
We need players, looking at the squad now we have a nucleus of a good squad but we probably need four or five players. You’re looking at the core of the side, we probably need a centre half, a midfield player. We have a couple of girls on trial at the moment (wingers) so hopefully they will work out and we have one or two that are here as a striker, and we are looking at goalkeepers so I mean we do have a nucleus of a good side but ideally we are looking at introducing four or so new players.
How would you describe your coaching style?
I like to play football, I mean most of my work is with a football, I am not one of those coaches that will just run the girls and run them and run them until they fall on the floor! Everything that is done is geared up to the games so if I am doing keep-ball they will do it in spurts, if it is three on three they will only do it for a minute and have plenty of breaks so they can put the effort in when they are in there. Each session probably lasts about 20 minutes, as soon as that is done we go on to another one or it could get boring. I am doing a lot of different drills, keeping their minds ticking over so they enjoy training.
What are your short-term and long-term ambitions for West Ham Ladies?
My short-term is to progress them into a better side than they were last season, they finished second from bottom which obviously is not good enough. When I first went in the club I could see the girls lacked a bit of confidence, which I think has been knocked out of them because of the way it was last season. Again as I said there are some good women there so hopefully that will come out of them.
Long-term is to do the best I can with West Ham Ladies, as I said we need to introduce new players, hopefully we will get that on board and we will have a good season and we can really go on from there.
If you are an aspiring footballer, who would like to trial / play for West Ham Ladies, please contact Julian Dicks on firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow West Ham Ladies’ progress in the English FA Women’s Premier League (Southern).
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