SWINDON Wildcats head coach Ryan Aldridge pens his first exclusive Link Sport column on how he keeps busy at the Link Centre over the course of the summer…
SOME of you might wonder what I get up to when we’re not in competitive action.
While we have all our other programmes going on during the off-season, it is a busy time for us in the office as we put together our roster.
You have guys you want to bring back to the club, guys who you want from around the league and then the imports. It’s all about getting them to put pen to paper.
All my imports come through agents. I have a list of probably 350 agents. Some of those guys don’t have guys who can play at our level, some of them don’t have players that would drop down to this level.
There are normally 10 or 15 that tap into the league regularly but sometimes you can sneak a couple of ones guys don’t know about as well. It’s going through the contracts, getting the contracts agreed with the agents, putting it onto the player and coming back to agree it.
Then we have to sort out accommodation, booking the flights and arranging travel, getting them registered – every player needs an International Transfer Card. We apply to our league and then it goes to their league and eventually the piece of paper comes back which the player has to sign.
It all has to be agreed before he can come across. Even with the English players, every single one has to be registered with the league as well so it’s a pretty busy time.
The agents are a very mixed bunch. Some work very hard and you’ll be able to get hold of them any time of the day or night. When I was in Basingstoke we had a lot more imports and a lot of them were North American, so I used to go into our office at 8pm and work through the night to contact them at the best time.
Here, some of them are very hard working and you soon figure out who are the hard working ones and who will mess you around. You tend to move away from those guys and closer to the ones you can trust. But they come from all over the place.
Jan Kostal’s agent came out of the blue via LinkedIn, so it’s a funny old game.
This year I would have liked more depth but that comes down to cost. Finances just weren’t around for that. The lucky thing is I have our young guys sitting on the doorstep.
If I normally wait for an import til the last minute it can be a bit worrying but even at this time of the year there are still players coming through.
A team in Europe just cut five guys on Sunday night so there are always guys available. Normally I’m signed and sealed in good time.