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By GAFC News

Read Blues Manager Jim Cooper's Programme notes from Saturday's game against AFC Sudbury

It’s my first entry in the match day programme and if I only get one message across today it is how proud and honoured I am to be given the role as first team manager at Grays Athletic FC. It was always going to be difficult to take over at this time of the season, but it was extra hard to take over from a club legend in Jamie Stuart.

I want everyone to know that the day after my appointment, Jamie and I spoke at length on the phone about all things to do with the football side of the club, how fantastic the fans are and then he wished me all the very best moving on. This shows the quality of the man and is something that will stay with me for some time.

Since my appointment we have played two games and drawn both. We look good going forward and are creating chances, but are still giving goals away in defensive positions. I can almost hear you all say “Nothing has changed there then, we’ve had that all year” which I have taken on board and as a result I have signed three defenders with a view to stop this happening. In have come Jamie Hursit from AFC Hornchurch, Macauley Joynes from Great Wakering and Craig Stone on a month’s loan from Tonbridge Angels FC. The latter being brought in to add experience so that the younger players will learn from him ultimately benefiting the team moving forward.

Paul Joynes has been brought in as assistant manager, Chris Bourne as coach and as a group we will strive to play football in a way that will please the fans, but more importantly to win games of football.

I wanted to give every player an opportunity to remain at the club so in the two games so far, I have changed the starting line-up, our formation and have made substitutions early to be able look at them all. From a fan’s point of view, I know it may seem odd, but it is almost like my pre-season where I have to look at things to see where we need to improve. Please bear with us while we do this BUT I promise that we are still going out to win every game. Sadly, three players have been released and I wish them all the very best.

Finally, I just wanted to say how much we all appreciated the away support on Saturday at Dereham. You guys made it feel as if we were the home team. The amount of noise coming from you drove the lads on to get that equaliser and we were all literally blown away so thank you very much.

Enjoy the game.

Updated 11:48 - 18 Mar 2019 by GAFC News

Where next?

The Wanderer - The Miracle of Castel di Sangro This article is the fourth in a series containing extracts from the book


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