Charlie Griffin was appointed Cirencester Town manager on Wednesday morning and given just one target by club chairman Steve Abbley – Keep us up.
Town languish two from the bottom in the Southern Premier League, after losing seven of their first 11 games this season, a poor start which cost previous boss Brian Hughes his job.
But Abbley, promoting from within, has been impressed that his veteran striker is not fazed by the tough task in hand.
“I interviewed Charlie for the second time this week and I was very impressed with his enthusiasm and his real desire to do the job,” said the chairman “He has a tremendous knowledge of local football, he has coaching badges, and he has the respect of everyone I have talked to.”
Griffin has enjoyed a marvellous playing career which began in the Bristol Rovers youth team. He has been a prolific scorer of goals wherever he has played, though not on his two short spells in the Football League with Swindon Town and Wycombe Wanderers.
After joining Cirencester Town from Chippenham, Griffin again showed his prowess when proving one of the Southern League’s top hitmen with a total of 26 goals last season. No long-term contract has been agreed in his first managerial role partly due to the parlous state his team finds itself in.
“We are going to take it step by step and I have just asked Charlie to keep us in this league,” said Abbley. “If he does then we talk about a two-year deal.”
Abbley, who prudently runs a very tight ship at Cirencester Town, with a budget believed to be in the bottom third in the division, says he is temporarily prepared to loosen the purse strings. You can’t ask a manager to rebuild a team that needs five or six new players and then tie his hands behind his back,” he said.
“I’ve agreed a spike in the budget until Christmas, but Charlie will have to get it back to normal afterwards. In all honesty we probably need one or two centre halves, a centre forward, a winger and a full back. So we will be bringing players in and shifting some out.”
As for the 37-year-old striker continuing as a player, Abbley has a firm view.
“Being the manager is a hard enough job without playing too. I’ve told Charlie to retire – and bring in a new centre forward!”
Last weekend Abbley had agreed a deal to bring John Brough to the Corinium Stadium only for the North Leigh manager to back out on the arrangement 24 hours later. Of his second choice Abbley says: “Charlie has been a great player and if enthusiasm and desire count for anything he’ll be just as good as a manager.”