Jim Magilton expecting a busy start to life at Dundalk

Jim Magilton says his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he was announced as Dundalk’s new Sporting Director.

By Steven Crawford
Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 1:00 pm
Jim Magilton
Jim Magilton

The former Northern Ireland international was officially unveiled by the Lilywhites yesterday.

A key part of his new role will be player recruitment and Magilton revealed he has been fielding countless calls about potential new signings.

“I’ve found a lot of new best friends since my appointment has been announced, my phone hasn’t stopped,” joked Magilton.

“For me the way I see a club running in terms of recruitment it’s the profile of the club, not the manager as such.

“Stephen Kenny put together a very strong squad and lots are still here, and given their profile we should build around that.

“It would be remiss of me to turn around and say we’re just going to have a manager in who’s going to bring in seven or eight players because he likes them.

“I think we have to sit down and discuss the profile of the player to make sure it’s sustainable, because if another manager comes in and decides he doesn’t like those players then it affects the squad.

“The conversations I’ve had with Filippo (Giovagnoli) it looks like we’re on the same page.

“The next few weeks is going to be busy, it’s not an ideal scenario for me to come into, but it will be busy in terms of recruitment.

“Getting business done early allows the manager to work on things in pre-season.

“As I say people are throwing players at me, but it’s about being selective and going for the right player.

“Shamrock Rovers have thrown down the gauntlet and it’s important Dundalk recognise that and rise to the challenge.”

Dundalk has been hugely successful in recent seasons, but Magilton is hoping there’s more to come during his tenure, he knows however there will be challenges both on and off the pitch.

“It would be nice if it was littered with trophies and we qualified for Europe every year, that would suggest recruitment has been good and we have a competitive group,” he said.

“It would also suggest that this is a working and productive model.

“Qualifying for the group stages of Europe is difficult, but also on the commercial side of things, that is going to be difficult given the year we’ve all had and what we’re going through.

“Can we encourage people to invest in the football club? That’s equally important.

“Success on the pitch breeds success off it and we need to feed on that and hopefully watch the club grow.

“My background over the last few years has been about growing a programme for young players so I’d like to see an academy that is thriving in the town, and I’d like to see young players coming in and really challenging so that there’s a pathway into the first team.

“I think the last player to come through was in 2018, we will look at all sorts to hopefully push the club on and have a conveyor belt of talent coming through.”

On the field Dundalk will have to try and claw back the gap between themselves and champions Shamrock Rovers, who finished 22 points ahead of the Oriel Park club.

“It’s a big gap to turn around, but if you asked those players if they underperformed I think they’d say they did,” said Magilton.

“Their honesty has shown through though and they are so determined, and that pleases me.

“We have to aim for both domestic success and success in Europe. In an ideal world we’re going to be competitive in our league and also in Europe.

“Our aims last year would have been to be competitive right to the wire in the league, but to qualify for the Europa League that’s always the dream, because not many clubs have done that.

“This group of players have done it twice now. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the conversations I’ve had with this group is they’re hungry, they want more success.

“That is a huge statement. In the Shamrock Rovers game their experience kept them in the game, but their character showed through to win the game.

“It was an important victory, and hopefully that momentum carries into next year.”