Chichester City manager Adie Girdler has a clear message ahead of the 2011-12 season, saying: “We’re still here – and looking to move the cub forward.”
As the club and district council seek an end to the problems surrounding the new clubhouse, Girdler and assistant Dave Kelly are busy building the team.
Fans hope this season will bring more stability than last term, with the off-field issues meaning the club were unable to pay players or bring in new recruits. They finished 14th in the Sussex League division one.
But boss Adie Girdler is looking at the new campaign with optimism, telling the Observer: “It’s looking more positive (off the field) but that’s not for me to comment on – all we can do is concentrate on the football and I feel we’re moving forward on the pitch at rate of knots. We’ve kept the majority of last season’s players and I’m very proud of the loyalty the lads have shown – we’ve got good numbers and it shows everyone wants to be here.
“They’ve got smiles on their faces and the negativity around the club is on the way out.”
The club are still unable to pay staff but several trialists are with them, including young winger Tom Moore, who has impressed Girdler.
Two of last year’s first-team squad have left – Tom Broadbent leaving for Pagham and Adrian Brockway, who missed the end of last season through suspension, also exiting. Girdler, however, says numbers are looking far healthier than last term, saying: “We’ve got Lee Strange in as a fitness coach doing pre-season training and we started training with the first team.
“When we started we had around 17 players – now we’ve around 40 so the numbers are good. Young Rhys Watling, Seamus Wiggans and Morgan Forry all give us a good foundation at the football club - obviously we’re looking for them to do as well as they can in the league. We’re looking to be up there competing.”
After a 1-0 victory at Moneyfields last Saturday, City’s pre-season schedule continues with a trip to GE Hamble this Saturday, then a home clash with Christchurch on July 28. Paulsgrove are the opposition on July 30 and Moneyfields provide the final pre-season opposition.