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Caretaker Josh Gowling won’t give up Hereford hot-seat easily

Hereford Josh Gowling

Josh Gowling has told The Non-League Paper he’s hoping changing the mood at Hereford can earn him the trust to land the manager’s job permanently.

The experienced former Bournemouth, Kidderminster Harriers and Grimsby Town defender is in caretaker charge following the departure of Russell Slade just 19 games into his reign.

It’s been tough going for the National League North Bulls with just one win in 14 when Slade left.

Gowling, 36, says he’s been preparing for management for the last six years with a psychology degree in addition to his coaching qualifications.

He’s also done a governance qualification and is a qualified counsellor – all tools he hopes will help contribute to moving Hereford up the table.

“At any football club, losing games affects people,” Gowling said. “It affects players, their confidence and the club as a whole – the fans, the staff, everything.

“When you’ve been on that kind of run and possibly not playing the type of football the club want to see it’s very difficult.

“So that’s been our focus as a management team – to change the philosophy of the football club, the way we play, and change the narrative.

“The first meeting we had as a staff was the way we speak to our players. It’s being positive and not necessarily jumping on the negative things

“It’s encouraging, taking the shackles off a little bit and getting the players to express themselves.”

Gowling has hailed the arrival of former Kiddy boss Steve Burr as his assistant as “invaluable” and he is enjoying the transition to the dug-out.


“I’ve always wanted to stay in football,” Gowling said. “I’m also a qualified counsellor. I had ideas to go into that side of things – counselling pros with injuries and pros coming to the end of their career, managing that and dealing with it.

“So I’d thought about going into that anyway but my main goals is to be a football manager. I’ve had so many managers over the years and I’d like to think I can take the best bits and hopefully put that into what I end up being.

“When you’re a player all you’ve got to think about is putting your boots on, a bit of tactics and that’s it.

“Obviously as a manager there is so much more to it. You’ve got to deal with the individual players, tactics, shape and organisation, your philosophy, the media.

“At the moment I’m trying to change the identity of the football club and the team. There’s a lot that goes into it.

“At home, looking at the opposition, breaking down the analysis – it’s a lot of hours. But I’m a bit of a perfectionist!

“I’ve been like that throughout my career so I love doing analysis anyway. I suppose it’s become natural.”

Gowling hopes to impress with this opportunity. “I’m on a trial period,” Gowling added.

“Obviously the club will want to look at me and I’m sure they are out there looking at other candidates as well. I’ve just got to try and build that trust and relationship with the players.

“Hopefully that will translate to results which will then give me trust with the fans and the board and football club as a whole. That’s what I am trying to do.”

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the latest news from across Non-League over the last seven days.

As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, The Non-League Paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6.


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