Charlie Griffin hasn’t exactly had his feet up over the past month or so but he does admit that he has enjoyed not having to take part in pre-season training.
The Cirencester Town boss is looking forward to his first full season in charge and has been putting his EVO-STIK League South, West players through their paces in preparation for the big kick-off on Saturday 12th August.
“It’s the first time in 22 or 23 seasons that I’ve not had to push myself through the pain barrier at this time of year,” he chuckled. “It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed life!”
The extra time has, of course, allowed Griffin to focus on other things.
“I’ve enjoyed all the planning that has gone into the new season,” he said. “We’ve planned everything right through to the 12th”
The 38-year-old hung up his boots at the end of last season after a playing career that took in a host of clubs including Forest Green Rovers, Gloucester City and finally Cirencester.
Griffin took over as boss midway through last season when Cirencester’s position in the Premier Division was already looking precarious. He was unable to keep them up although their fate was not decided until right up until the end of the campaign.
Chairman Steve Abbley was quick to support Griffin publicly once relegation was confirmed and now the one-time prolific striker is looking forward to stamping his own mark on the team.
“I can’t wait for the season to get going,” he told The Local Answer. “It’s a fresh start. Last season was tough but now we’ve had a pre-season we can play like we want to play.”
That will involve playing on the new state-of-the-art 4G pitch installed at the Corinium Stadium in the summer and although the players will have to get used to switching from an artificial pitch to grass pitches when they travel Griffin doesn’t see that as a problem.
“Last season we mainly played 4-4-2, but this season we can play 4-3-3, somebody in the hole behind the front two and maybe 4-5-1 when we go away,” he said.
“We want to play as much attractive football as we can.”
Griffin has a good working relationship with Abbley, who enjoyed a stellar non-League career with Cheltenham Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Gloucester City.
“Yes, I’m very lucky,” Griffin said. “He loves football, he loves the club and he works very hard.”
Abbley will, of course, be a keen spectator at games this season and has all the makings of being a real cracker with five clubs from Gloucestershire – Cirencester, Bishop’s Cleeve, Slimbridge, Shortwood United and Cinderford Town all in the same division.
“It should be a very, very good season,” said Griffin. “They will be tough games because they are all good teams and we will have to make sure we prepare right for all of them.
“Hopefully, the attendances will be quite good and the games will put some pounds in the clubs’ pockets.”