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Mike Cook - Manager’s Update

We had the chance to sit down with Tigers' manager Mike Cook after the club announced the signings of Dayle Grubb, Dan Ball and the return of Ben Richards-Everton, as we edge closer to the start of the new campaign, and also got an update on player movement from last season's squad.

The first signing of the season announced was 32-year-old Dayle Grubb, who is an experienced, local midfielder who has spent most of his career at Weston-Super-Mare AFC and after getting promoted from the Southern Premier League in 2022/23, he caught the eye of Cook and his backroom staff.


MC:"If there was one person who I have wanted over the last couple of months, it would be Grubby. I have got to know him over the last two or three years and he is a great person, very humble and quiet with a good footballing pedigree, every time I watch him he impresses me and he is a brilliant signing for us.

MC:"To get somebody of his ilk into the group, I think he is a crowd pleaser, a gamechanger, he is exciting to watch, and he will definitely chip in with a few goals and assists next season.

Left-sided defender Dan Ball was the next through the doors at the TigerTurf, and he has joined the club after a tough season with Taunton Town last year. Ball started his career as a youth player at Bristol City, he then moved on to play for Bath City, Tiverton Town, and Swindon Supermarine which eventually led him to Taunton Town in the summer of 2022.


MC:"We have always liked Bally from when he was a Bath City player, he can play left back and also left sided centre half in a three or a four. We have not got many left footed players and I have wanted some."

 

MC:"I have spoken to people in the game that know Dan closely, he is great lad as well as a great player with fire in his belly and to be honest, he was probably the player of the season for Taunton last year in a struggling team. He has been brought in because he puts in minimum seven out of tens every week, we can rely on him, he has an old head on his shoulders and personally I think he fits the mould perfectly for us going into next season."

The gaffer and his staff also added more height and strength to the back line, bringing a familiar face back to the the club in Ben Richards-Everton. The 32-year-old ex-Football League centre back joined the Tigers at the beginning of last seasons campaign, however due to certain circumstances, he had to depart the club.


MC:"I just think he’s a giant amongst men physically and I wanted some bigger players in this team. As we go through to the midfield and the forwards we are quite small at the moment as a group so I was desperate to get somebody in that is mobile, who is good for the group and good in the dressing room."


MC:"We never had any issues with him as coaching staff, but unfortunately things happened that were out of ours and his control at the back end of last season, where he ended up getting moved on. So thankfully he is not bearing a grudge, I think he is a very good player and I was keen to get him back as soon as possible."


Cook was also able to provide an update on negotiations with players who were with the club last season:


MC: "We offered Theo Robinson a deal about three weeks before the end of the season, we didn't get a decision so we extended that to give him more time but there was still no decision and so we withdrew our offer amicably."


MC: "Josh Smile is another who was offered a deal before the end of last season, but Josh is expecting better offers from elsewhere and so again we withdrew our offer and parted ways amicably."


MC: "Conversations are ongoing with Brandon Smalley, and Josh Barlow has been invited to join us for pre season so we can have a good look at him."


Cook also confirmed that Louis McGrory was likely to accept offers from elsewhere. The club thanks all departing players for their efforts last season and we wish them well.


Owen Brain was announced as a Taunton Town player earlier in the week to the surprise of everyone at City:


MC:"We had an agreement that he would probably come back for pre-season, to be fair to him he did not promise me, but when we had the conversation I asked him ‘If you were going to give me a percentage what would it be?’ and he said ’99.9.’ then we had a bit of a laugh and joke about it, but to not even have the decency to phone me left me really disappointed in him."


MC:"He has every right to sign for them because he wasn't on a contract but I just thought there was a lack of manners. I spoke to his agent and I let him know I was disappointed in Owen, and he did have a conversation with me to apologise for the way it was done."

 

MC:“The bottom line is he was free to go wherever he wants, but I was just disappointed in the way he did it and when I did eventually get to speak to him I made him aware of that."


Finally, Cook touched on what he and his coaching staff have planned for the upcoming weeks, as the club heads towards pre-season."


MC:"We are probably looking to add three or four more and that would be the limit I think, so we are going to have to add a bit more to the squad by getting some free loans in as well. We still have another five weeks until pre-season starts, and then obviously another five weeks on top of that until the season fully starts, so I don’t think anyone should be panicking at this moment in time."


MC:"We have got a hold of some really good players and we have a great vision for the club. We have definitely took a few steps in the right direction this week, I am really excited to push this club up the table and hopefully, high up it too."


Season Tickets are on sale now - grab yours and enjoy every home match for just £10 a game for a full adult.



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The first signing of the season announced was 32-year-old Dayle Grubb, who is an experienced

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