Banbury United manager Mike Ford will be putting his new charges through their first training session tonight (Thursday) and is anticipating about 20 players attending.
Besides the players Ford is expecting to sign for the Puritans, there will be as many again who he knows and who will be keen to impress the new boss.
I want to create a good relationship between the players and the supportersPuritans boss Mike Ford
But Ford will only hold a handful of training sessions ahead of the first pre-season friendly with Stratford Town a week on Saturday at Spencer Stadium.
Ford said: “I’ve made the mistake in the past of starting pre-season training too soon, so this time we will be into friendlies much quicker. There are quite a few players coming along who I’ve known in the past, so I will be able to see how they are doing now.”
Ford attended last week’s Community Benefit Scheme (CBS) meeting hosted by the Steering Group at Spencer Stadium and said: “What has gone in the past, not just last season, but previous seasons, has gone, this is a new start.
“It was a very positive meeting and I told the supporters we would get together a team of players who would be honest and hard-working.
“I want to create a good relationship between the players and the supporters, we may not win every week but they will give honest performances.
“I am excited about being here – as are my staff – and we want to leave with the club in a better place so players coming in also have the opportunity to stamp their mark.”
Supporters were brought up to date with the progress being made by the Steering Group at the meeting. For the record, it remains the view of the Banbury Guardian that the Steering Group’s lack of communication with the media during the past two months was not in the club’s interest but – for clarity – far from being against the CBS, this newspaper is fully behind the scheme.
It is also worth noting that I put CBS Steering Group member Stephen Barlow in touch with Martin Cantrell, who was part of the group behind Enfield Town’s move to a supporters’ owned club and is now a member of the steering group.
But while the Steering Group has the backing of the supporters who attended last week’s meeting, it knows it now needs to spread the word much wider for the scheme to be a success.
And to do that, it also needs the backing of this newspaper and to understand there needs to be mutual trust if the relationship is to work going forward.
On the pitch Mike Ford, like any of his predecessors at Spencer Stadium, will get the full backing of this newspaper and knows can talk ‘off the record’ if he needs to.
Off it, the Steering Group still has the opportunity to also develop that level of trust but the ball – with Wimbledon now under way – remains firmly in their court.