Why there is a growing sense of optimism at Cheltenham after latest signing: Opinion

The signing of former Oxford United defender Charlie Raglan on a two-year deal following his release from the U’s has further added to a growing sense of optimism at Cheltenham Town.

Raglan enjoyed a successful loan spell at the end of last season, making nineteen appearances for the Robins on the right of the back three in an impressive second half of the campaign which saw Michael Duff’s men pull away from the League Two relegation zone and end up in sixteenth place, Cheltenham’s highest finish since 2012/13.

It was a rise up the table built on solid home form, with the Robins undefeated in their final ten games at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, results which led to many supporters looking forward to the 2019/20 campaign with renewed hope.

This feeling was further enhanced when the club reduced season ticket prices and key players such as the clubs top scorer Luke Varney and goalkeeper Scott Flinders quickly committed their future to the Robins by signing new deals.

A look at the club’s official Twitter feed reveals a sense of optimism and positivity all round with an abundance of fan engagement, and while Raglan’s signing might not make too many national headlines when loan players want to stay, it indicates a spirit, togetherness and optimism within the squad and bodes well for next season.

Michael Duff has undoubtedly done a tremendous job on the pitch, but it is much more than that. He engages positively with fans, and this growing connection was illustrated when he boarded the supporter’s coach to apologise to fans, thank them for their continued support and promise them the Robins would do better on their travels next season after a poor performance at Stevenage in their final away game of the campaign.

It is a sign of a man with a sense of purpose, in tune with his fanbase. Many thought his appointment was a gamble due to his lack of experience but he continues to prove all his doubters wrong and the Cheltenham board deserve credit for jumping off the managerial merry go round and giving a young, ambitious coach a chance.

While there will be teams in League Two next season with much bigger budgets, spirit and togetherness can go a long way in a tight League, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Duff’s men knocking on the door of the playoffs next season.


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