Its been all change at Chiseldon during pre-season after they finished bottom of the first division last season.
A change of direction and philosophy at the club has seen Stewart Parsons take charge of the club in a bid to transform the team and move it forward.
With a solid group of players who have been with the club for a number of years, new manager Parsons will need to use his man management skills to keep the group of players together whilst trying to instill his new thoughts and ideas for the club.
We spoke with the new manager ahead of his first pre-season friendly this coming weekend…
Q: How have you found stepping into your new managerial role at Chiseldon?
It’s been a smooth ride so far, but I am sure there are testing times ahead. I could see from last season that the team had potential and I hope I can be the man to bring it out.
We had certain facilities already in place which has been a great help and has really assisted with our pre-season training which I hope all the players will benefit from.
A large part of the group have been at this club for many years and the previous regime managed to keep everyone together which was great. I just hope that continues.
Its important for the club as a whole to keep a lot of its roots in place. These lads have a lot to prove moving forward though and i’m expecting better from them this year because i know they are a lot more capable than their league position last season suggests.
Q: Have you been very active in the transfer market?
We have only re-signed about 14 players from last season and that’s obviously a number impossible to work with. We have made a few new signings to keep the squad competitive and we’ve promoted a few players from our youth teams.
I genuinely feel that there are a lot less teenagers coming through into senior football than there was 10-15 years ago. Its a worrying time, but I feel that as long as I am at this club, I will be keeping a keen eye on our younger teams with a view to bringing them through into the senior side when they are old enough.
Q: What do you expect from your players?
I expect my players to at least match the effort and commitment that goes into running this club. The club as a whole wants to progress every which way it can and I want the players to be part of that. I’m not always sure players realise how much effort goes into running this club.
From the chairman and the committee, down through all of our youth coaches, team secretaries and into the senior team with me, there is massive time and commitment given up by everyone to make this club work. Expecting our players to match this effort is not too much to ask in my view.
They’ll need to do this with their hard work and commitment and many will need to change their mentally a bit. Players will need to earn their place in this side now, something a lot wont be used to.
I would also like the players to prepare for games better and focus on what is expected of them. “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performances” Isn’t that how the saying goes?
Q: With Chiseldon having a poor season last year, what are your ambitions for the coming season?.
To win the league, simple as that.
If Leicester can win the Premier League anything is possible. Why else would anyone play football?. Some might just enjoy playing the game which is fine, but I don’t see where the enjoyment is if you’re losing.
Too much time and effort goes into running a team from staff and players to not aim to win every game you play. This club also has a history of having good cup runs reaching the Semi finals last year and finalists 2 years ago. We must be due a cup win soon?
I also want to see a lot of the players from last season improve. If they take my advice and listen to what I want from them, I have no doubt that will happen.
Q: I hear that there has been a lot of work done in pre-season both on and off the field. How do you feel pre-season has gone so far?.
The work off the field has been huge. Its been a case of bringing our ground up to the sort of standards I expect.
Some things are always going to be out of our control, but anything I can control, I will be striving to get the very best for my players. I want my players to feel proud wearing the Chiseldon shirt.
On the pitch we’re yet to have our first pre-season friendly, but training has been going well and I have been relatively pleased. Thing can always be better though and there is only so much you can do on a training pitch.
Numbers have been up a lot from last pre-season which I have been pleased with also. My messages have been relayed to the players and its now down to them to put them into practice in our friendly matches and beyond.
Q: Who do you think will be pushing for top spot come the end of the season?
Never an easy one to answer because know one really knows how other teams may have improved since last season coupled with the new clubs who you have no idea about.
One thing i would say from what i do know is its looking like a very open league.
It could make for some exciting games where every point is vital.