Sadly, I don’t get to the press conferences much at the moment, the harsh realities of writing for a living I’m afraid. However, I tune in every week to have a listen and usually, it’s much of the same.
Danny plays his cards close to his chest, talks about respect and togetherness in the group, talks about nursing injuries but never reveals who or what. he always says the opposition have good players and always talks up their strengths. If Danny was ill one week, I’m pretty sure I could take one of his pressers and aside from being slightly worse looking and with a better beard, nobody would know.
This week was different though, because this week we got another glimpse of the man, the respectful and measured man who is in charge of our football club. This week he badly burned an opposition manager without even trying, or wanting to.
You may have heard former Imp (two games, rubbish) David Flitcroft paying silly sods in an interview about Danny this week. He didn’t quite have the slavering quality of Garry Hill, but it all felt a bit contrived as he said he wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone, especially not Danny ‘big bad bugger’ Cowley. No way, not him. Not Sir Flitcroft. Not going to happen.
Quite why he lashed out a week after or game was a mystery, but Rob Makepeace put it to Danny in his conference this week. Rob’s a journalist, he’s doing his job and presenting the chance for us all to get a bit of controversial copy to incite clicks and hits. Danny gives us enough though; wins, strong teams, silverware. He won’t gift us controversy as well.
“We played Mansfield last week and we play Mansfield again in the coming weeks and months and I’ll talk about Mansfield then. Save trash talk for boxing. We’ve got respect for David Flitcroft and we’ve got respect for Mansfield, they’re a good club and they’ll be very, very competitive in the league this year and we look forward to seeing them very soon.”
Ouch. genuinely, ouch. Bait ignored, but Rob wanted to know if it was hard not to rise to provocation in the media like that?
“Not really, because we just want to focus on us. I only want to think about things I can control. I can’t control David Flitcroft and I can’t control Mansfield and I won’t get involved in tit for tat. I Love the sport of boxing but I get disappointed on a regular basis when I watch boxers before fights show such a lack of respect for each other. I certainly wouldn’t want to see that coming into football and I certainly wouldn’t want to be involved in it.”
That wasn’t it though, Danny’s moral compass had been revealed and once it is out, he’s not going to put it away again. Mark Whiley of the Echo asked if he felt the likes of Macclesfield would raise their game for a side like Lincoln.
“It would be arrogant for us to think that. Let me just be clear there will be no complacency or arrogance in our dressing room, none at all. We’re just down to earth, hard-working boys. Some of us have come right from the bottom of non league to get to this point, we massively value and appreciate the position that we find ourselves in. we’d never, ever take it for granted. We never be arrogant enough to think that anybody would need to raise their game to play against us.”
“It would be really disrespectful of me to suggest a team would raise their game just because they’re playing a certain opponent. The teams we play against and compete against every week are professional people and part of being a professional person is being the very best version of yourself every single game.”
I’ve been is press conferences and as calm and collected as Danny is, he has a forceful and deliberate way of answering questions without raising his voice. It might be a part of the ‘playing down our success’ card he likes to produce from time to time, but it is perhaps more a reflection of him not getting carried away, not wanting to project this image of favourites. What he doesn’t want is for team to raise their game.
I disagree slightly, I think teams do raise their game for certain fixtures. Take Grimsby the other week. They were a tough side for us to compete against and they gave us a real game, but since then they’ve been as crumbly as a biscuit. Why? Because against Lincoln they were spurred on, whether it was the atmosphere, the proximity of the clubs, whatever. They looked better and they played better.
What Danny doesn’t want is to put that out there for people to pick up on. He wouldn’t never insult another team or manager in that way. I wonder, if the question had been asked in a Mansfield presser, what the answer would be.
I just hope David Flitcroft was watching that interview to pick up a few tips, he needs them. I can say this even if Danny can’t!