Tom Killick revealed that his side now rank rivals Salisbury as their “biggest challenge locally” after a keenly contested match with the Wiltshire outfit, also describing games against the Whites as a “proper” rivalry.
Despite spending a few years at the Ray Mac as a player and assistant manager, Killick claims that he holds no ill-will towards the club he used to represent.
Speaking to All Poole Aren’t We, Killick stated: “It has nothing to do with that. I enjoyed my time here – me and Taffy, we were both young. I was in my early 30s, probably 32, and Taffy was about 35, 36 something like that.
“It was a baptism of fire. We were in the equivalent of the Conference South, we had no money, so that was a steep learning curve, and I enjoyed the club. There is a lot of good people around the club.
“I loved it there. The rivalry now is nothing to do with that. It’s literally because we’re desperate to beat them, they’re desperate to beat us.
“They’re a good side, we’re a good side, they’ve got good players, we’ve got good players.
“They’ve got players that used to play for us and vice versa, I think it’s just proper – you saw on Tuesday night, there were two teams there that didn’t want to lose the game, in a big, big way.
“There were tackles going in, and I enjoy that side of it, and it was good to see. I feel that these games are always going to be quite feisty affairs, I think that everyone looks forward to them.”
Funnily enough, Killick played for all three of Poole’s local rivals in the Southern Premier League South – but claims that Poole’s clashes with Salisbury now trump any games with the club’s more traditional Dorset rivals.
I would say that because of the level they are at as a club, in terms of off the field and on the field, that they are our biggest challenge [locally.]
“There are players that have played for both teams. From that point of view, in terms of their level, I think they’re a very good side, they’ve got a very good squad – they looked powerful at times against us, for long periods.
“They were very good. I knew they would be good, because you only have to look at their teamsheet, their subs, and the people they’ve got sat in the stands.
“I would say they are powerful on and off the field, so from that point of view, they are our biggest challenge locally, without being disrespectful to others.”
Poole’s recent Dorset derbies have been somewhat drab affairs, with Killick claiming they no longer have the ‘needle’ of yesteryear, especially games with Wimborne.
“There is a little bit of needle between the two sides,” Killick continued.
“We don’t necessarily have that with Dorchester or Wimborne anymore.
“That’s not a reflection on those clubs, just how things pan out. But if you speak to Wimborne, if they beat us, it’s the highlight of their season.
“They would probably say we’ve got a very strong rivalry. If you’re asking me, without being rude and sounding arrogant, I would say Salisbury [are our biggest rivals].”
Killick, who once threatened to take Salisbury’s former owners to a tribunal for unfair dismissal, also moved to quash any implication that there was a rift between himself and his opposite number Steve Claridge.
The pair have previously been embroiled in a war of words, but Poole’s boss remains adamant there is no bad blood between the pair.
“Me and Steve Claridge are never going to go off and have a candlelit dinner for two, but you can’t help but respect what he has done as a player.
“He’s assembled a very powerful side – I respect what he has assembled as a manager here, what he is trying to do.
“I can’t speak for him, but there is respect on my side towards him. We’re not each other’s cup of tea.
“But that happens. Sometimes I can behave in a way that I shouldn’t behave. You’re not going to get on well with everyone.
“Me and him, we’re okay – we’ll happily shake each other’s hand, there’s no big deal.
“It’s just a bit of rivalry. I’ve got no personal agenda against him, it’s just a competitive rivalry I would say.
“There’s some other managers in the league that I get on quite well with, others that you don’t. It’s just one of those things – there’s no personal issue between us.”