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Charlie Griffin targets promotion this season

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 25th July 2019, 09:00

Charlie Griffin is a good man to interview.

The Cirencester Town manager isn’t always the easiest person to get hold of but once you make contact he is more than happy to talk.

He has an easy laugh as well, which always helps, but beneath the bonhomie there is a very serious football man.

The just-turned 40-year-old enjoyed a hugely productive career as a player scoring close to 250 goals in nearly 600 games. Most of those games were played at or near the very top of the non-League game but he also played 60-plus Football League games for Swindon Town, Wycombe and Stevenage.

Now he is cutting his teeth in management and as you’d expect of someone who boasts those kind of playing stats, he is fiercely ambitious.

“Yes, I am,” he told The Local Answer, “I’m very ambitious. I want to get Cirencester Town moving in the right direction, I want to win promotion.”

That would mean a place back in the Premier Division of the Southern League, a level they last played at in 2016/17.

Griffin took over part way through that season after the club had made a poor start to the campaign and, despite long odds, almost kept them up.

The following season the club just missed out on the end-of-season Division One South play-offs and last time out they reached the play-offs only to lose out to Cinderford Town.

It’s probably fair to say that Griffin has packed more into his first two-and-a-half years as a boss than many manage in a decade but he’s determined to look forward, not back.

“I’ve done okay,” he said modestly, “but you can’t rest on your laurels. I’m pleased with what we’ve done and the way we’ve done it but there’s still more to get from the players.

“I’m lucky to work with a group of players who buy into what we are trying to achieve.

“A lot of the clubs in our division have bigger budgets but my chairman gives me a sensible budget and I’m happy to work with that.

“I want players who are hungry, I want players who want to play for the club for the right reasons.

“They’re a happy group of lads who work hard.”

There were six 19-year-olds involved in the play-off against Cinderford at the end of last season and Griffin is happy to give the youngsters an opportunity if they’ve earned it.

And if they are good enough the rewards are obvious because striker Owen Windsor has recently signed for West Brom.

“We’ve got young lads who come in and it’s a great stepping stone,” Griffin continued. “I’ve got to make sure I develop them, I enjoy it.

“I’m passionate about any young lads coming through, I’ll give them the best opportunity.

“It’s about enjoying it and having ambition. We’ve got a great academy at Cirencester and there is a clear pathway to the first team.

“We need experienced players as well, of course, but it’s a great place to be.”

It will be an even greater place if the club can make it third time lucky and win promotion back to the Premier Division – “We’ll be having a right good go at it,” said Griffin – who will be working hard to ensure there is no ‘hangover’ following the Cinderford defeat ahead of the big kick-off on Saturday 3rd August.

“We didn’t beat the top five teams in the division last season,” said Griffin. “We drew with a couple, that’s where we could do better. The league is getting stronger all the time, we must be prepared because there are so many games, it’s not easy.”

Griffin is fortunate to have a close working relationship with his chairman Steve Abbley, someone who has been involved with the club for around 25 years and who played for Swindon Town, Cheltenham and Wycombe Wanderers back in the day.

“He gave me my opportunity,” said Griffin, who was still playing when he first took over as manager. “I want to repay him. I’ve done okay but I want to do better, we must look to add quality and push on.

“He’s a very good chairman. A lot of people don’t get on with their chairman but I do.”

That augurs well for Cirencester Town, not just for this season but hopefully for a good few years to come.


This entry was posted on 29 July 2019 at 11:30 and is filed under First Team | Miscellaneous. You can leave a response here.

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