The new Banbridge Town manager is putting his heart and soul into the cause.
Stuart King is currently out in France as part of the GAWA - and, rest fear not Town fans, he’s booked onto the last plane home on Friday night, just in time for pre-season kicking off on Saturday morning.
Should Northern Ireland face France, as is expected, in Lyon on Sunday in the last 16 though, King will be back out to France again. And that will make it over a 1,000 mile round trip just to take his first pre-season session. Some players would travel the same distance just to get away from pre-season. But not this man.
King has been at all three of NI’s Euro 2016 matches so far and he has a ticket sorted for the next round. The only fear is that Northern Ireland actually face Wales on Saturday, in which case he’ll be watching from back in Banbridge.
“I’ve been to the World Cups in Germany and South Africa but watching your home nation at a major tournament has been amazing,” said King, just hoping he will be there for at least one more game. “Our fans are frightening. They didn’t leave the ground in Paris until an hour after the game singing non-stop.”
Town captain Ryan Moffatt and ex Town winger Ryan Gourley have both been out amongst the GAWA too.
“Pre season will be hard work,” said King from France, getting his mind back on his work, “but we have some good games to look forward to and every player will have the opportunity to get a starting shirt for the first game of the season.”
The first friendly arranged so far is away to Lurgan Town on Saturday 9th July.
Town then travel to take on PSNI on Tuesday 19th July before hosting Annagh United at Crystal Park on Thursday 28th July.
A Ballymena United side will then vixit Crystal Park on Saturday 30th July.
Town are also hoping to take on more senior opposition, with further games still to be confirmed.