Andy Burgess breaks silence on Southport caretaker role after Liam Watson decision

Southport players react after Spennymoor defeat

Andy Burgess has called for the Southport players to take responsibility and be counted in order to heed their slump.

The former Dagenham & Redbridge manager was appointed as joint-caretaker manager alongside David Morgan, following the departure of Liam Watson.

Watson left his role as Yellows manager in light of their 5-1 drubbing away to Spennymoor Town which left them at the foot of the National League North table, after three games.

His five years at Haig Avenue ultimately came to an end, in his third spell with the club, as he moved to focus on his role as a director of Southport.

The decision for Watson to exit his position in the Sandgrounders dugout came to light on Thursday, following meetings throughout the course of Wednesday. 

“I had a phone call from the chairman [Ian Kyle] to see him, I went in just after lunch yesterday, I had a good hour with him, Steve Dewsnip and had a chat about the squad, about his thoughts,” Burgess said speaking to Off The Park. 

“It was a difficult day in terms of what happened with Liam, it’s slightly different because Liam’s still going to be around in the Director’s role and he’ll have a huge influence on the club in that way. It was a case of the chairman making sure that myself and Morgs [David Morgan] knew his feelings, what he felt and how he wants it to work with me and Morgs moving forward. 

“There are, although it’s a difficult situation, there are positives to draw on, we are only three games in, we’ve got to make sure we nip it in the bud as soon as we can. Attention turns very quickly to Saturday, as soon as I came out of the meeting with the chairman, David and I sat down and went through our thoughts, thankfully how we looked at things aligned. 

“We’ve got our thoughts on Saturday, we’re looking at Boston and what they’ll bring but it’s about us, what we do and making sure we regroup. It’s been a tough start but we draw on that we have got a good dressing room and we have to start taking responsibility for our jobs on the pitch. 

“We’ve had good moments in games but we need to turn them into 90-minute performances, turning them into results.”

Detailing the discussions between Kyle, Dewsnip and the two temporary bosses, the 42-year-old revealed: “I think his initial ambition is to win on Saturday. The football club is in a really good place in terms of off the pitch, it’s had new investment this season, you go to the ground, there’s been a lot of work done and there’s good people in place. 

“What the chairman wants is a football team on the pitch to replicate that, be competitive and everyone will have a different idea of what success looks like and is for this year. We just have to make sure we turn around the difficult position that we find ourselves currently, everybody from the chairman to myself and Morgs to the players want to win games of football.

“I think we have to look shorter term and make sure that we crawl before we can walk before we can run and get everything sorted, focus on Saturday then look at the bigger picture. The chairman is very supportive, clear in what he wants, I don’t think he wants to rush an appointment, I think he wants to get that right. 

“Whoever comes in or gets the job, will be replacing someone who has been a huge success at the football club so it’s not something that I think can be done quickly. With that in mind, we need to make sure that we steady the ship with that process. 

“We’ll see how it goes, it wasn’t said either way,” Burgess added on whether there has been any inkling as to whether Southport will unveil a permanent replacement for Watson.

“Both of us have been around football long enough to know there’s nothing stopping the football club from appointing someone in the next hour and us reverting back to our old positions, that’s football. Both of us have got ambitions to go as high as we can and do as much as we can in football coaching and management. 

“Morgs is only 29 and wants to continue playing, for me he has to play in the team and be a big part on the pitch. He also has aspirations to be a coach and a manager, this is a fantastic opportunity for both of us. Never say never, it’s not about us, it’s about the football club turning the corner on Saturday and trying to get the group together to get a positive result.”

Boston United are the visitors to Haig Avenue this weekend. From a Southport perspective, they are looking to end a run of 11 straight defeats.

They’re already at the foot of the table but with the season in its infancy, their position isn’t as precarious as the standings suggest.

But Burgess noted the importance of picking up results quickly. He continued: “I’d take a rubbish performance but a 1-0 win on Saturday 100 per cent. Performance levels, from a longer point of view, the better you are, the more chance of you have getting a result. 

“We’ve got to win on Saturday, we think we can do that by changing one or two things, changing the mentality a little bit in terms of what the players are asked to do. What they’ve been asked to do at the moment isn’t working, the results show that, so we have to do something a little different. 

“We haven’t got a long time to work on that, we had them for an hour-and-half on Thursday, there won’t be wholesale changes but there will be a change in mentality and the way we approach it. 

“At the end of the day, it’s the same group of players, I don’t think we’ll have the opportunity to bring anyone in, they’ve got to take responsibility – which I don’t think enough of them have – in the opening three games, do their jobs, if they do that then we’ve got players good enough to win games at this level. 

“We’ve spoken about that over the last three weeks, now it’s time for everyone to start gaining results.

“Boston have won one, drawn one and lost one. They’ve got good players, very experienced, spent a bit of money in assembling a squad, they’ve got a certain way of playing, the manager is experienced. 

“They probably feel that they’re a football club who are level or two below where they should be but we are too. We should embrace it, they’re coming into our backyard, we should make the Big Help Stadium a big place to come – which it hasn’t been for a period of time. We’ve got to look forward to it, we’ve got to stand up, be men and be counted on Saturday.”