So it came to be that last Thursday five of us turned up at Ashton Gate for an interview with the man himself. We had no idea what to expect in all honesty, eight pages of questions were prepared in case the answers were short and we were left scratching our heads after 20 minutes. Having read this excellent Goalfood interview where he starts off by threatening them if they asked stupid questions, I was particularly nervous to check my questions halfway into the room and make sure they still hadn't turned into gobbledy-gook.
We needn't have worried.
We didn't speak to a man sometimes portrayed as unfriendly, curt and lacking in willingness to talk to anyone. We spoke to a man who is clearly passionate about football and when he talks about a game being about more than just results, we got an insight into why he thinks as such. It isn't just spin because results have been poor, it's because he genuinely sees his role at Ashton Gate to be one of developing young players, building a strong core that can take City into the next decade, building a system and a club that can stand on it's own two feet for years to come, and building a culture that means when someone talks about Bristol City, they'll say "ah yes, they're the club that ......." - and the finale to that statement won't be "changes their manager each season" or "always underachieves".
He was so passionate about what he talked about, in fact, and gave such detailed answers, that we got chased out be the night watchman at nearly 11pm, closing in on three hours after we started. This was clearly a setting in which O'Driscoll felt comfortable, and his extensive answers came easily and with little prompting.
Anyway, to save you all sitting there for two hours in one go we've broken it up into three, all less time in length than a half of football (and this is all free!).
In this first episode Sean talks about how he feels we're progressing this season, managerial job security(!), dealing with the press, his 12-month rolling contract, the squad he inherited, the message he gave Liam Fontaine before putting him on as substitute and the job he's trying to do at the club - as well as discussing how he was so keen to get the pitch right he has cut the grass in a previous job! He talks about how he underestimated the strength of support there is for the club and what we've been through in the last few seasons.
"If I was running a football club, this would be how I'd run it" and "You don't come into this job for security" are two other notable quotes I've picked out, but there's loads to listen to so here it is.
The Sean O'Driscoll Interview: Part 1
Listen & download here: http://www.buzzsprout.com/11600/121486-the-cider-diaries-exclusive-the-sean-o-driscoll-interview-part-1-mp3
Or better still, subscribe via iTunes here to make sure you don't miss out on the second and third parts!
Enjoy - all feedback very very welcome!