Interview by Andrew Dempsey
After re-joining the club following a spell away in England with Conference North side Blyth Spartans, Dylan McGlade got talking with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey as the former Middlesbrough prodigy discussed how his move back to the City Calling Stadium came about whilst also comparing the League of Ireland to the Non-Leagues over in England.
Having decided to re-join the Red and Black after a brief spell across the water over in England with Conference North side Blyth Spartans, McGlade revealed that his previous relationship both Neale Fenn and Daire Doyle played a key role in getting the deal over the line.
“It actually just happened when the team I was playing with in England were having some difficulties and they just said, if you’d like to leave we can facilitate that. I think Daire and Fenny caught wind of that and we just had a chat. I know the lads already, I know Daire and Fenny for a couple of years now so the opportunity that I had to work under them was something I couldn’t really let go.”
With this being the first time that Dylan has worked under both Fenn and Doyle simultaneously in a professional capacity, the 22-year-old Dubliner has explained that he has found the transition to Fenn’s footballing philosophy an easy exercise so far.
“It’s been good so far! He knows what he wants and its good to have that clearness in your instructions. Everybody knows exactly the way he wants to play, and he doesn’t shy away from how he wants to play. I’ve been coached under him for the last couple of years with his academy, so I know how he deals with things and how he works so it’s been an easy transition for me.”
Having enjoyed a six-month spell at the club last time out, the former St Patrick’s Athletic star revealed that realisation of how a big a club De Town really are stood out for him in his last stint at the City Calling Stadium.
“Probably just realising how a big a club Longford is. I mean when you come down to the City Calling Stadium. I remember the first time I came down here in 2016 with Pats away and I just couldn’t believe how big the stadium was and how professional everything looked. Even walking down to the changing rooms and just stuff like that.”
With the good times not far gone, he also revealed that Daire Doyle constantly keeps on referring to the good old days at the club when the Red and Black were pulling in back in the mid 2000’s having had a spell at the club himself.
“That was probably the main thing but Daire always talks about when he was playing for Longford and how the club were nearly getting almost 2,500 at nearly every home game and all. Obviously back when I was with Shels as well I remember Longford always had a huge following so probably that would have to be the thing that really stood out for me.”
With there being far more positivity amongst Longford Town supporters this time round compared to this time last season, the 22-year-old noted that he believes that this year’s squad feels a lot more cohesive than the side starting last season’s campaign.
“I think the big difference this year would probably have to be the cohesiveness of the team. I look at the team this year and most of the boys all know each other. The way in which we’re setting up this year is much different to last year and how Neale wants to play, and I think everyone really fits into that. As well as that, I think that we’re a lot stronger this time around in all areas of the pitch. I mean, if you look at the team, we almost have two people to play every position on the park and we didn’t really have that last year. Last year we were a bit light up front and I know this year we kind of are a bit light up front, but we have a few boys that can play up there as well as me if needs be. we have a lot more competition which always helps.”
Having played at both Non-League and League of Ireland levels in his brief playing career so far, McGlade revealed that League of Ireland football has a far superior professional feel surrounding it compared to the Non-League set-up in England.
“It’s a lot different I have to say. At Blyth we were playing in the Conference North and there are massive teams in the league such as Southport, York and Salford. Darlington are a massive team as well in there. I remember we played them last year and there were thousands at the game, it was just crazy, but the professionalism isn’t the same. I remember we came back from one of the games and the chairman came on and put two crates of beer on the bus on the way home from an away game. After the games lads would be heading down to the pubs, downing pints and all. You would never see that here! I remember one of the lads used to have a Subway pre-match, and you just don’t do that! The standard is very, very good like, I’ve played with some very, very good players and played against some very good players as well but the professionalism isn’t over there with that whereas over here you wouldn’t see that!”
Personally at least, McGlade has said that he is looking to break into a highly competitive starting eleven at Longford Town but has also noted that he feels as if there is a lot more experience this season compared to last season at the City Calling Stadium available to Neale Fenn and his backroom staff.
“First of all, I’d like to break into the first team and get a good of games under my belt. I think that’s what every player coming into a team wants to achieve. I think also, looking around, even though I’ve only been here for two weeks or so far, we look a lot more penetrating than last season and I think we’ve brought in some good experience with the likes of Darren Meenan who has won the Premier Division a few times, you look at Shane O’Connor last year getting player of the season at Waterford and getting promoted with them last time round. You look at Chris Mulhall who done the same at Limerick when he went up with them. I really think that we’ve strengthened in areas and we’ve got a lot of experience available to us and we still don’t have an old team!”
Echoing all the sentiments from the Red and Black’s dressing room, the former Malahide United and Swords Rovers starlet knows that a tilt towards the SSE Airtricity League First Division is well within reach come the end of the season at the City Calling Stadium.
“This year we’ve got to look for a promotion spot and we have to look at going for the league title. I know Neale has told all the boys that he wants to win the league outright and that’s how we’re setting up to try and do. We’re going into each game looking to win and we won’t be going into games looking to take draws even though the league will be very tough to win so I think, if we can get a good run of games and get the boys confidence up, I think there’s no reason why I don’t think we can’t go on and compete for the title.”