“That kind of stuff is priceless; it’s why Tamworth have been successful since we came in.”
Hannah Freeman and Manzu Cain might not be names fans will immediately point to for whatever success the Lambs achieve this season.
Players will win the plaudits when they’ve rifled in a 30-yard screamer to win three points in the last minute. The managers get a pat on the back when they bring on the player who scores to snatch a crucial point.
But joint-boss Andrew Danylyszyn feels none of it would be possible without the hard-working team that most of us hardly see.
“I can’t put it into words how good they are,” Danylyszyn explains. “The management team might be the poster boys, if you like, but it’s so much more than us. That kind of stuff is priceless, it’s why Tamworth have been successful since we’ve come in.
“Manzu [sports therapist] works for the England Lacrosse team, so his skill set is very high. He goes over and beyond and he loves what he does. During the optional training sessions, we’ve been running for the players over the last few weeks, he’s been coming in unpaid.
“During the season he does the same. I remember last season after the Alvechurch game, he went to Ahmed Obeng’s house at 10pm after he’d finished work for the day to do treatment. He comes in early to treat people, he leaves later than anyone else.
“It’s that kind of dedication and attitude that generates success. Manzu works hard and works well. When you have someone like that in your staff team, it spreads to everyone else. When you get that kind of attitude from someone, next thing you know, you’ve got another member of staff replicating that.
“He’s relentless. The work that goes into an injury, for example – a player coming back from injury will have the right diagnosis, a rehabilitation programme, a strength and conditioning programme. Before you know it, you’ve got a player out for three weeks and not eight – that makes a big impact on the season.”
Hannah Freeman is the club’s first team analyst – a role that is alien to most Non-League teams.
But Tamworth have got one of the best, according to Danylyszyn, who says the management team get a ‘Match of the Day’ style report on every one of their opponents during the season.
“Hannah goes to all the games for us and writes a report for us. She goes everywhere. She goes to every game of the opposition before we play them,” Danylyszyn added.
“Take our games. Hannah watches the games our media team film home and away and before every game, the players have a stats sheet with how many passes they’ve made, how many touches they’ve taken, how many dribbles they’ve made and so on. It helps us because when a player gets dropped, we can show them the stats as to why.
“We ask Hannah to clip up the games for us to review. Next thing you know, we’ve got a Match of the Day-style video to watch.
“She even highlights things where we’ve pressed well, or where perhaps we could have done better. We get a video of us and what we can do to improve and then we also get a detailed analysis of the opposition.
“Aaron O’Connor and Lindon Meikle were shocked when they came in with the detail we put into our sessions and analysis. Aaron sad he didn’t have anything like it even when he used to play in League Two!
“Add that to the incredible work Mike Fowler has done for the academy. Add in the work Scott Rickards does and what you have is high level of skill, consistency and work-rate.”
With the season fast approaching, some of Tamworth’s latest recruits have caused a stir amongst their Southern League counterparts – Danylyszyn has a message for them.
He said: “I’m getting a bit annoyed with people talking about our budgets. I see it all the time, people will say ‘Tamworth have got a ten-grand budget’ and it isn’t true. Things like that diminish your achievements.
“Our budget has been cut again this season. People like Manzu, Hannah and the staff team we’ve got working behind the scenes bridge that gap. We bridge the money gap through our tactical knowledge and work behind the scenes. We can’t do that without the relentlessness of people like Manzu and Hannah.
“It’s not only us, it inspires the players. The players want to do well for people like Manzu and Hannah.”
Main Image – Kieran Riley