Kevin Nancekivell met the media for the first time on Tuesday lunchtime in his new, one-off role as Plymouth Argyle caretaker manager.
In an interview with Plymouth Live football editor Chris Errington, the 47-year-old revealed his sadness over the departure of Derek Adams and assistant boss Paul Wotton.
He spoke about talking to Adams and Wotton in the aftermath, as well as a team meeting he had with the Pilgrims’ players.
Nancekivell also stressed the importance of everyone at the club coming together for the final game of the season, against Scunthorpe United at Home Park on Saturday.
With a win in that match the Pilgrims could save themselves from League One relegation, although that will depend on results involving AFC Wimbledon and Southend United.
CE: How do you feel standing here as Argyle’s caretaker manager?
KN: Sad in many ways because it means Derek and Paul have gone, which is a massive shame for us all.
A very sad day for the work they have for the club over the last four years, which has been outstanding.
The Wembley appearance, promotion, Liverpool in the FA Cup. They will live long in the memory of any Argyle fan.
Now I’m stood here reluctantly really because it’s not my role.
But, having said that, the club have asked me to step in this week and look after affairs, going forward into Saturday’s game, which I will do to the best of my ability.
CE: Football is a brutal business isn’t it, and this is another example of that?
KN: Yes, there is no other industry like it. It affects people’s lives, people’s families, which I don’t think everybody understands, and it can be very, very sad.
But it has happened, the club have made that decision and we have to get on with our work and move on.
CE: When did you find out the news?
KN: It was late Sunday night.
KM: Yes, very shocked. Obviously, we were still disappointed and getting over the Accrington defeat, and was preparing to come into work on Monday morning as normal to put right all the things that had gone wrong, and then you get a phone call like that.
It’s upsetting, it’s very sad, because we have lost two very good people, let along two very good professional sports people.
Like I said, it’s done, you have to dust yourselves down now. Derek and Paul wouldn’t want us feeling sorry for ourselves, or for them, so we have to move on.
CE: Presumably you have spoken to Derek. How is he? What is his mood like?
KN: I have spoken to the Gaffer and he’s disappointed and sad it has come to an end, but he can hold his head up really, really high for the success he has achieved.
I also think people don’t see what he has done behind the scenes.
Everybody sees the Liverpool game, Wembley, and the promotion, but the work he put in alongside Paul Wotton was unbelievable.
I was lucky enough to experience that first hand, but he will move on to bigger and better things I’m sure.
CE: You are right, he was more than just a first team manager. He did a lot around the club.
KN: He devoted himself to the football club, every minute of every hour of every day, he dedicated to Plymouth Argyle, and that’s why it makes it even more sadder when it happens.
CE: He made you first team coach as well.
KN: I owe him a great deal. From the first meetings we had, when I was in the academy as head of coaching, we had a good relationship, and that grew.
It followed with him asking me to step up and be first team coach, which I gladly accepted.
CE: Seven weeks ago tonight, Argyle beat Shrewsbury 2-1, were 12 in the table and it looked like a top 10 finish was possible. Now we are standing here with the team in the relegation zone. It has been an incredible seven weeks hasn’t it?
KN: It is hard to believe, but it has happened and we have got to forget everything that has gone on in the past and just concentrate on this week because we can’t get any of those games back now.
What’s done is done, and we have just got to make sure that everybody is singing and dancing on Saturday.
The boys will be well prepared, they are eager to play. They want to put right all the wrong doings of the last few weeks.
CE: Have you sat down with all of the players and had a talk with them?
KN: Yes, we had a meeting on Monday morning to explain the situation and to keep them informed about what was going on and what was coming ahead.
Again, there were a lot of sad faces. They were all signed by the manager so there is a lot of regret there on their part.
But, I’m repeating myself, we have got to put that to one side now. We have just got to make sure we are totally focused on keeping this club in League One.
CE: Have you trained as normal this week?
KN: Yes, all good. The boys are bright. They are all professional and we have just made sure that it has been positive and upbeat. We will be ready – we are ready.
CE: Would you be interested in the job full-time?
KN: I’m a coach. I have not got the skill-set to be a manager. It’s not there. How the Gaffer (Adams) puts up with it, I do not know.
Listen, it’s an honour to look after the club this week in sad circumstances, but it’s not one that I would want to be doing going forward.
CE: You and Romain Larrieu were joint caretaker managers for one match at Port Vale (in January 2013). Is that experience going to help you on Saturday?
KN: I think so, and as you get older you get more experienced, and you recognise things that happened before and try and improve things.
But it’s about the players, it’s about the supporters, it’s about all of us together. It’s not about any individual.
We all need to come together. The supporters will do their part, we will do our part. Everybody must come together to keep this great club in League One.
CE: What happens to you after Saturday? Do you know your future?
KN: No, and I have not asked. It’s not important. It’s irrelevant. Nothing gets in the way of our preparation for Saturday.
CE: What reaction have you had from people since Sunday night?
KN: I’m just keeping my head down, working hard and just making sure that the most important people – which are the players – are in a good frame of mind, know their jobs and are upbeat and positive.
What is gone has gone, we can’t get that back. I know we will be ready to go Saturday, and if we could play now we would.
CE: I’m sure, for the sake of Derek Adams and Paul Wotton, it would be great if the club stayed up. Although they will have left it won’t have that bitter taste.
KN: Again, the work that those two put in, and the feeling they had for the club and the players, was unbelievable.
The players will be doing it for them. I have got no doubt about that. They will be doing it for the supporters, they will be doing it for everybody, and let’s just make sure we all stick together and get across that line.
CE: I wish you the very best of luck.
KN: Thank you.