Nothing can beat the thrill of pulling on a pair of boots as a professional foot-baller, says Paul West.
But the former Port Vale, Wigan Athletic and Bradford defender admits there will be a tingle of excitement when he sits down and names his lineup for Evesham United's opening match of the season tomorrow at Rothwell Town.
West has shared in the mountain highs and deep-sea lows with the Robins in the last 18 months. Part of the Robins' fabric for the past decade, he was No 2 to Dave Busst when they won promotion in May 2005 and then, after Busst's exit, he was boss when they slipped through the relegation trap-door last term to end their Southern Premier Division status after just one season.
It's been a hectic summer, revamping the squad, signing new players, bringing others on trial and rethinking the backroom team when Neil Hunt departed after just a month as assistant manager.
But West is determined to bring a few more smiles to the Worcestershire side by returning to regular winning ways in the newly-titled British Gas Business Southern League Midland Division.
"I'm totally enjoying it. It's the next best thing to playing," said West. "I'm sure I speak for every manager when I say I'm buzzing to get the first Saturday of the season under way.
"There's been a lot of hard work but it's not a chore. The bottom line is that we are all in this to enjoy it."
Despite dropping out of the Southern Premier, West points out that Evesham produced a positive end-of-season run and they only fell one point short of safety after grabbing four wins out of the final ten matches.
The squad has remained largely intact - though influential midfielder Stevie Duncan will miss the first few weeks with an Achilles injury - while West has drafted in a mix of promise and proven a bility in his summer strengthening.
Striker Mark Owen, and midfielders Nathan Jukes and Steve Lutz have switched from Malvern Town, while goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan has turned his loan move from Redditch United into a permanent stay. Former Birmingham City trainee defender or midfielder Liam Daly has signed from Romulus and wide midfielder Dean Wellington has joined from Solihull Borough after a pre-season trial at Redditch.
Evesham have also been boosted with the return of centre-back Steve Luckett, who has re-signed after spending the summer on trial at Walsall.
Evesham have big plans for the future, with a new ground being built which will mean they will be ground-sharing this term at Worcester City, but West is wary of making any bold predictions.
"At this stage of the season, everybody will feel it's going to be their year," said West. "We are no different. Our target is to be up there in the shake-up."