Stephen Cleal says that meeting Chairman Stuart Tait ahead of being named Cinderford Town manager was like “being a kid on Christmas Day.”
Earlier this week it was confirmed by the Foresters that Cleal had agreed to leave Bishops Cleeve after six seasons to become manager of the Southern League side, after Paul Michael’s departure a couple of weeks ago.
Cleal spoke exclusively to Severn Sport for our Dean Radio show about his decision to move clubs and just how exciting the future is for him and the club.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Cleal. “I just can’t wait to get going really. Cinderford is a massive opportunity for me and one I’m really looking for to.
It was a really hard decision [to leave Bishops Cleeve]. I’m still a Bishops Cleeve fan and the club means a lot to me, but when the opportunity to manage a side like Cinderford comes along you have to take it.
I wanted to challenge myself and test myself at Southern League level again, plus to manage a club as big and as fantastic as Cinderford, with their fan base was the ‘something special’ to see me leave Cleeve,” added Cleal.
Cleal went on to talk about the exciting plans Cinderford Town had in place and after meeting Tait and some of the committee his mind was made up and believes he is the right man to continue the work that his predecessor Paul Michael began.
“It was like being a kid on Christmas day when I met the Chairman and some of the committee. You know when you hear the plans that are in place and see the infrastructure they have in place it’s so exciting. It is one of those things I can really get my teeth stuck into.
I have the skills and attributes to continue the club progression forward, after the work Paul did. But I promise Cinderford town fans will see a Stephen Cleal side ready to compete for success this season,” said the former FC Barometrics man.
After the news was confirmed that Cleal would take over at the Causeway rumours were rife regarding who would join him in the dugout and then on Tuesday night it was confirmed that former Gloucester City man Will Morford would be joining Cleal, having previously been at Bishops Cleeve during the 2019/20 season and Cleal spoke highly about Morford and what he can bring to the table.
“I trust Morf and know his football philosophy and it’s similar to mine. It was a no brainer for me and as soon as I knew this was a possibility it was the phone call I made. We said a few things and both parties agreed to move forward together
It’s exciting for him and he brings in bags of experience as well as a level of professionalism that we want to continue on from Paul and smudge and Morf ticks all the boxes,” said Cleal.
Cleal then went on to discuss Bishops Cleeve and their decision to appoint Paul Collicutt as his replacement and concluded with a final message for Cinderford Town fans.
“I want to reassure Cinderford fans that work is happening behind the scenes and whilst it won’t be all announced yet, as we are in what I call the silly season- where everyone speaks to everyone, but we are all looking to put together the best squad possible,” Cleal said.
You can listen to the full interview with Cinderford Town Manager Stephen Cleal on Severn Sport on Dean Radio on Saturday morning from 10am