Julian Dicks is expecting his Wivenhoe Town players to provide the sort of passion that he showed during his playing days at Upton Park and Anfield.
The tough-tackling 40-year-old West Ham legend and Liverpool full-back is taking over the managerial reins at Broad Lane today and is under no illusion about the size of the task that lies ahead of him.
Dicks retired from the professional game nine years ago after knee problems halted his glittering career, during which time his no-nonsense playing style made him a hero to the West Ham fans in two stints at the East London club, and he has been living in Spain for the past three years near Alicante.
He has decided to turn his back on the Iberian sun to take charge at the Dragons, but it is not an easy situation that he steps into.
Large debts hang over the club and their 5-0 Ridgeons League premier division defeat by Tiptree United on Saturday extended their unbeaten run to nine games under manager Wayne Ward, following the departure of former boss Richard Carter.
The lack of funds at Broad Lane means the Dragons’ squad has an extremely inexperienced look to it, but the new boss insists he will stay loyal to the policy of using local talent and will be demanding maximum effort from his players as they bid to turn their fortunes around.
“It will be hard work, but I’m always up for a challenge,” he said.
“The buck stops with the players and if they graft hard enough, we will be fine.
“They are young players and they need guidance and hopefully things will change.
“We also have some potential backers and there may be some money to be put in.
“I don’t want to name names at the moment in case it does not happen, but I hope one or two will come on board and if things are right, they will back us.
“The buck stops with myself and the players that play and if things are right on the pitch, then things will be right off it.
“My main focus is on the pitch as I am the manager of the club.
“It will be tough as there is no money for players, but I will be working with Wayne Ward as my assistant.
“You can’t do it on your own. It is a team game and we will be working together to get out of the situation we are in at the moment.
“I have been coaching and managing a bit in Spain so I have still been involved in football.
“Coming back will be different as even though the players have been of a similar standard over in Spain, the council always puts money in over there.
“It will be different, but it is like riding a bike and you don’t forget.
“I have a blank canvas to work with.
“I watched them play a couple of weeks ago when they got beaten by Needham Market and the players worked really hard and I thought it was something I could work with.
“They tired in the second half and ended up losing 4-0, so I will look at their fitness and will look to motivate them.
“I’m not being paid and I have a good life in Spain, so while I can’t say to fans ‘I can guarantee things will be great in a few months’ as I would be lying, I can say that I will give 110 per cent.
“That is what I did as a player and that is what I will do in management.
“Supporters pay £6 to get in and are entitled to their money’s worth and I will guarantee that those players will give 110 per cent or I will look to get in other players who can do the job.”