Pre Season Cont...
Monday morning at ‘The Tigers’ Black Bridge training ground and I’m petrified. I shouldn’t be, I know full well I can do this. Its hardly Barcelona I’m taking over. This is a semi professional football club and half of my players will come into training this morning on the bus. £200 per week part time wages is the top earner on the pitch, and I sit at the top of the tree with £325 a week. That’s just under £17000 per year. It’s supposed to be a part time role, but I know that this job will consume me so I’ve quit my job in the media industry and taken a substantial pay cut. It’s all or nothing, I must make a success of this or come May next year I’ll have to quit.
10am and I have scheduled a meeting before I put the players through their paces. I have decided to keep hold of the majority of the training staff.
the assistant manager whom I already knew very well was not the man I would have chosen to be my understudy but he is the only link I have to the players and the training regime that was already in place here, so for now he stays.
I have also kept hold of Neil Mustoe who is a half decent Coach and a cracking Midfield force who will no doubt be a major contributor to our success this season.
The player who indirectly got me this job Darren Mullings
, I know will be an integral part of my plans and I intend to shape my team around him.
The welcome meeting went very well. I got Adie to introduce me and I informed the players of my ethos and goals for the season. My regime is going to be one of honesty and hard work. The whole squad will have to pull their weight and there will be no room for dead wood. My honesty extended to informing the players that some of them in the room probably wouldn’t be here at the end of the week. I already have a shortlist of talent that I want to bring into the club and the task of signing them would start immediately.
The week went well. An inter-friendly brought me more knowledge of the team and I managed to arrange 6 friendlies over the pre-season including a mouth-watering money-spinner against the mighty Birmingham City
When the Friday came I knew whom I wanted to keep at Black Bridge and who just wouldn’t make the grade. One by one the guys were called into my office to receive the bad news.
All these players bar Gloucester veteran Matt Coupe
were out of contract and needed to be released. A quick call to Llanelli
and Matt was on his way.
was a popular player here, both on the training ground and in the stands but I need technical prowess at the back for a successful season and I knew Matt would not feature. High wages meant that him and many others needed to go.
Nigel (The Chairman) dropped a bombshell in the week when he brought me in his office to discuss finances. He explained that the situation at Gloucester was dire. The club is in debt due to over spending in recent years and the plans for a new stadium have been shelved. (We are ground sharing with Cheltenham Town
) He also informed me that I wouldn’t have a transfer budget this term and with wages at £3000 per week I would need to slash that by a 1/3. Players had to go.
A busy few weeks followed. No less than 19 players would come in before the first game of the season. With Mullings
already earmarked for a supporting role, I knew I needed to form a good spine to the team with him at the centre. Here's who I went for.
GK James Gilpin 21
Between the sticks I went for none other than James Gilpin. At 21 he still has much to learn but at £60 per week and with his technical ability this was my best signing so far. I know he’ll be an ever present in the league for us.
CB Martin Camano 26
My plan of keeping solid at the back this season has been made a hell of a lot easier by the capture of Argentine defender Martin Camano. He has experience in his native country and also in the Scottish leagues. Although fairly slow and a limited grasp of English I hope his strength and height will be put to good use.
James Comley 20
I had planned on Neil Mustoe being the Ball winning midfield General to work alongside Mullings but Comley will be pushing him all the way for a place. With a fantastic physical presence and an old head on young shoulders, I know Crystal Palace will rue the day they ever decided to let him go.
Martin Reilly 24
Martin didn’t make the grade at Burnley but I know he’ll fit in well at Black Bridge. Tall quick and great with his head I hope that he’ll strike up an awesome partnership with Jamil Adam who I have installed as Poacher.
Hopefully the speed of these two will lead to the goals we need to be a success this campaign.
Gloucester City 4-1 Albion Rovers
Weston Super Mare 2-0 Gloucester City
Gloucester City 0-2 Burton
Gloucester City 0-3 Birmingham City
Gloucester City 4-1 Caine
Gloucester City 1-0 Hednesford
In all honesty our Pre-season results were disappointing. I knew it was going to be tough start to theseason due to the sheer number of faces that have arrived and departed in the last month. Some of the deals took a long time to nail down so the side isn’t even close to being gelled yet and some of the guys are yet to learn everybody’s name. The First match against Eastwood will see us flying by the seat of our pants.
We also received two injuries during these friendlies that will hurt us. Our best CB Camano is out for a couple of weeks with concussion. And young Jimmy Adcock faces a long 4 months out with a torn hamstring. Jimmy is a promising young winger, released by Chesterfield. He is a good all rounder and expected him to form a rotation with young MR George Lloyd (brought in from the youth system).
Although he won’t make too many appearances this term I handed Neil Mustoe our veteran defender and coach the club captaincy. New signing, but currently injured, Martin Camano was pepped up by the honour of vice captaincy. If his English improves and he proves himself worthy on the pitch, I hope to hand him the full captaincy one day. I have high hopes for Martin.
We also have our first international call up. It is only the Moroccan under 20’s but I know Hicham Abdellah will gain valuable experience. It’s a real landmark for the club and a marvelous opportunity that will help his career.