“ I can't speak highly enough about this group of players”
Simon Haworth, Manager
“Well! What a season we’ve had!
I could never have imagined in August 2016 that we would get to the semi-finals in two competitions and finish in the top nine.
I’d like to say that appointing Simon in May was inspirational but you all have too much football experience to believe that. However good a candidate is it is impossible to know whether he can actually do the job. Simon can and does! He and his managerial team have been everything I could have hoped for. They buy into the ethos of the club, are professional and respectful and have been fantastic to work with.
Alongside the achievements of the team the fabric of the club has improved. As well as the pre-season work on the pitch, we had extra work done in December. The weather has been kind to us over the season and we’ve only had to postpone one game. The buildings are all fit for purpose now, although we are now in a position where we are looking at repairs and remedial work.
It would be remiss not to thank all the businesses, large and small, and people who have supported us through sponsorship. M&C Risk Solutions will continue to be our shirt sponsor next season and we will continue to enjoy beers from Bowland Brewery. Our attendances are the envy of many clubs in our division and above but without our many sponsors we would find ourselves with a much reduced income stream.
Personally I’m grateful to everyone who runs the club with me and to those people who roll their sleeves up on match days. There aren’t enough of us but we do an excellent job and I hope I’ve thanked you regularly through the season. You know who you are and I hope you’ll stay for a couple of hours after the game for presentations.
The Annual General Meeting will take place in the clubhouse on 15th June 2017 at 7.30pm and I hope that you will take the opportunity to attend, but if not I look forward to you joining me in August when we’ll do it all again.”
“Firstly I would like to thank all of the players and my staff for all their hard work, dedication, and application in what has been a brilliant first season.
I would also like to thank Anne and the board for their continued support and also to our set of excellent fans who have followed us home and away in good numbers.
It’s been a season of real development and progression on and off the pitch. There has been a huge effort to improve discipline which has been achieved way beyond expectations with our standings in fair play and technical area league tables.
As a club we have improved home attendances by nearly 40 percent - a quite brilliant effort from everybody, and a real plus for players and staff as we are producing a product that supporters obviously enjoy.
We have exceeded everybody's expectations from within the club and from the outside, and I can't speak highly enough about this group of players who haven't played a lot of competitive football in their short careers and very much are a work in progress learning on the job.
Ultimately we have come up a tad short in 2 semi-finals and a play-off spot. We just didn’t get the rub of the green that you need, combined with a bit of naivety being such a young team.
But all in all from starting in July, with only 3 or 4 players wishing to return from last season, we have reached the very top of our potential for this season and it will be an even bigger challenge to repeat or better in the next campaign.
Hopefully we have a real good turnout for the Brighouse game today and everybody takes five minutes to just realise what these lads have achieved this season, especially from where we were in July.
Huge well done to everybody at the football club and I wish everybody a relaxing summer and the chance to take a deep breath after a real entertaining and emotional season.”
“In terms of the football team, we started off this season with six players from the previous season and finished off with just four.
Therefore, the Gaffer, Gaz, Jonno, Irfan and Jay deserve a huge amount of credit for assembling this special young team almost from scratch. Their hard work, experience and invaluable knowledge has been essential to the clubs success this season.
The boys in the team have been first class and have to be very proud of what they have achieved this season in such a short amount of time. There have been many highlights, from the 17 game unbeaten run, to the 4-2 away win at Farsley which put our season back on track.
The disappointments for me have to be the semi-final defeat to Radcliffe and the defeat at Colne but to be in two cup semis and to still be in with a shout of the play offs down to the final game is remarkable. It just comes to show what a special bond and work ethic there is within this team.
Of course we are disappointed to have not won one of the cups or to be in the play offs but we can take this very positive season and use it as a stepping stone for next year.
The management have created such a positive and confident attitude within the players and this has been seen on the pitch in which at times the football and the way everyone has conducted themselves has been a joy to watch. This has meant a 35 percent rise in the crowd and topping the national Fair Play League.
The fans have been of a different class and have got behind the lads every step of the way. We appreciate it more than we can say.
This is a special club and with the same hard work from everyone involved, we can look forward to another successful season next year.
Finally, a massive thanks from me to the players, management and all staff involved in this successful season and of course a massive congratulations to Anne for her special and much deserved award.”
“How to cram a whole season of football into a nutshell? From a fan’s perspective, 2016-17 has been the first full season following the Blues together, home and away, for me and my lad Rowan. But what will we remember most when we look back in years to come?
The goals, certainly! There have been plenty of them, from towering Brady headers, to scything Kurt daisy-cutters, and cheeky Charlie lobs from 20 yards out. The Blues haven’t been goal-shy and it’s satisfying that the bulk of our tally is spread across four or five players. This has been perfectly complemented by defensive tightness at the other end, built around the rock of our keeper Tommo, for me the man of the season from a crop of very worthy contenders.
Compared to other teams in the division, relatively few players have been on the books this season – I reckon about 37 in total. The fact that many of these have been either young lads playing the senior game for the first time, or older players being given a second chance, reflects the ethos of player development that Simon and his staff have brought to the club. I’m not going to list all those who have impressed us this term - suffice to say that any lad who has pulled on the blue shirt and played with passion, commitment, and with a spirit of fair play (something else we’ve excelled at) deserves the respect of the fans.
But what really paints a picture of this season is a series of ‘moments’. Highs and lows you could call them, often separated by weeks and months but connected by a thread of emotion that you only get by following a football team for a whole season...
Some are comic, like Tommo attempting to take his shirt off over his gloves at Ossett Town, Gip the border collie chasing goal kicks along the Top Side, and free-kicks that have nearly hit the castle. Others still hit hard weeks later – walking away from the County Ground with Rowan in tears after being knocked out of the Cup, or seeing our playoff hopes dashed by an injury-time goal at Colne.
But it’s the moments of pure, raw, joyful emotion that shine through: standing right behind the goal at Prescot as Dimi headed the equaliser in the dying seconds of the game; young Knox scoring a 25 yard screamer on his Shawbridge debut, then Charlie doing the same on his; Kurt racing over to embrace the small gaggle of travelling Blues during that glorious away win at Farsley; driving back through the night totally wired; the amazing fight back for a point at Hyde; Alex’s incredible return to form with another hat-trick against Brig; Brad’s fist-pumps after every win, knowing it means as much to them as it does to you...
So, all those motorway miles, all those pies (good, bad and indifferent) – has it been worth it? What do you think!? We’ll be back again for our season ticket, counting the weeks and days until the first pre-season friendly, eager to find out who has stayed, who’s moved on and who the new faces are.
This season hasn’t just brought a Dad and his lad closer together, it’s given us a real sense of belonging, somewhere we will always feel welcome, to stand with friends and raise the cry of ‘Come on Clitheroe!’”
Updated 20:12 - 15 May 2017 by Michael Barker