Carl Garner is new Clitheroe boss

BIG AMBITIONS: Former chairman and now new boss Carl Garner
BIG AMBITIONS: Former chairman and now new boss Carl Garner
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NEW Blues boss Carl Garner has already signalled his ambitions for Clitheroe Football Club.

Garner tendered his resignation as chairman of the Ribble Valley club on Friday, but was then offered the managerial role left vacant by Peter Smith.

And Garner, who spent six years changing the fortunes of Clitheroe as chairman, admits his acceptance of the role was a very easy decision to make.

“It was an easy decision once I was made the offer,” Garner said.

“It’s a privilege and I’m going to make the most of it and give it my best shot.

“I didn’t fail the club as a chairman; the club is stable and financially healthy, it’s got a strong and hard-working committee, the facilities have been significantly improved and the club as a whole is in a much better position.

“I now aim to apply the same ethos to the football.”

Garner’s first official game in charge as manager came in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Warrington Town at Shawbridge, though he took the caretaker role for the Blues’ 3-3 stalemate with Garforth Town the previous weekend.

He said: “It’s come out of the blue and Peter Smith has given me his 100% support and blessing which has given me a huge lift.

“We wouldn’t have sacked Pete under any circumstances, but he felt he needed a break, and we respected his decision.

“I’m looking forward to it, but it’s far more intense than I imagined.

“I’ve done the management thing before, but at a lower level .

“It’s the intensity of the position that surprised me a little bit, but I’ll soon come to terms with that.

“I need to find the right person to come in and work with me.

“I’ve had six years as chairman. I know the club inside out – I know all the players, staff and I know players at other clubs at this level.

“I’ve got a lot of contacts as well, and I’m well connected with players and managers at this level in the North West.

“During my six years as chairman, I’ve never set foot in the boardroom.

“Football has always been my strength particularly at this level.”

Chris Thompson and Alan Collins had given Warrington a two-goal lead in the opening 25 minutes of Garner’s first game in charge, but the Blues showed character and hit back to claim a point through Ashley Parillon and Jack Higgins.

Garner said: “The last two performances have been better than what we’ve had recently in terms of attitude and application.

“We’ve got seven games to play and I’m looking forward to working with the players I’ve inherited.

“I’m looking to organise them as a unit and put a different mentality in to their heads.”

The next step now for Garner is to find a trusty side-kick, who shares a similar ambition.

He said: “I’m not going to rush in to a decision because I want to look to move the club forward.

“I will feel we’re in a much stronger place when I’ve got the right person to work alongside me.

“Once I get someone in, I have genuine ambitions to turn Clitheroe in to a good, strong and tough outfit. I feel I can do the job better than most and I will give it my total focus.”

Garner has been handed an unenviable task. In the seven remaining fixtures, the Blues face five of the division’s top eight, with three of those fixtures away from home.

And after securing the services of Parillon and Chris Smalley on contract terms for the 2011/12 season, and acquiring verbal agreements with five other squad members, Garner aims to use the final games wisely to assess his squad.

He said: “I’m intent on having a fit, athletic side ready for next season. The players with me now have seven games to prove they want to stay on here.”

The Blues visit Garforth Town this Saturday (kick-off at 3 p.m.).