Words from Rich Laverty.
Defender Gretar Steinsson forged a good career for himself before coming to England, playing in Switzerland before hooking up with AZ in Holland. A move to Bolton followed and despite four relatively solid years at the club, his time at the club ended in relegation in 2012. Now, the former Icelandic international has taken on a new role as Director at Fleetwood Town and gives us an insight into his career and his first six months with the League Two side.
On originally moving to the UK Football here very attractive for players all over Europe. For people in Iceland they often think England is the only place where football is played. For me, it opens more doors to have that on your CV, more respect playing in England, debatable over the best.
It’s easy to settle down, I moved away rather young in Iceland to another club, KF, who are based in Ólafsfjörður which is very far to the north of the country and a long way from the city. We’re in this to make a career out of it, it’s a job at the end of the day, we’ll go anywhere, we don’t relate to any geographical problems. It’s about the best place for us to work, we have a different mindset compared to locals.
On leaving Bolton I’d been there four and a half years, you get attached to the club, all the people you know at the club. The non-playing staff lose their jobs due to finances and you can’t help but feel guilty because you know they’re not half as fortunate as you and will lose their jobs.
On a few occasions we were flirting with relegations, you see panic creep in around the club. You really don’t want to let people down, the fans down, people who can’t influence what is happening to the club, that’s down to the players.
We have a high-profile job, we end up in high-profile situations but there is always that knowledge that people will lose their jobs because of your performance and that’s difficult.
On arriving at Fleetwood Town I was fascinated by the project of chairman and CEO, we do it by the European model here. I did my studies in that type of management post-retirement, I accepted the offer to come here and create a business as well as a football club. It’s been a fantastic six months and a great learning curve.
We are opening a new training ground which will improve things massively, fan engagement is important, we value what they have to say and we’ve also taken a different approach to player recruitment.
It’s been a very exciting time for the club with all the promotions, I’m working alongside great people, I follow the team, the manager and the players. Every day is something new and we’re taking giant steps forward. We’re always talking new ideas, the future is incredibly bright here.
On the future The sky is the limit but we’re taking things one day at a time, we’re on route to making this club sustainable as a business as well as allowing it to compete on the pitch, everything has to work hand in hand from the football side to the community.
We’ve got a chief scout, we have a Director of Football, we all have different specialities and we make decisions together. It’s all about communication, sharing knowledge and adding information where you can. We’re all responsible for our own roles at the club and together we are trying to pull together in one direction to take the club forward.