A warm welcome to Steve Cunningham and his squad from Colne today. Steve has been a great help to me over the past couple of seasons and we chat regularly about players and teams. You look at the job he has done at Colne and he has steadily improved year after year and once again this season his team are fighting up at the top of the league. He is a manager I respect, and I wish him all the best for this season.
I am writing these notes before we played Kidsgrove away due to the printing issues at this time of year.
Our last game was here against Radcliffe and we lost the game heavily 7-0. After the game a handful of people took to Social Media to voice their opinion. I want people to be aware that I have absolutely no issue with this, you pay your money and your opinion matters. I use social media, interviews, and programme notes to voice my opinion, so why shouldn’t you?
Howeve, my opinions are always based on the facts and never personal to individual players or individual people. I think when this happens it is unfair. I won’t get into specifics but some of the criticism of the club and the way they do things was unacceptable and disappointing to read. I myself will never take offence to criticisms of the way we play, or the results, but I will back each of my players to the hilt as they will me.
I will also back the small number of people who make this club operate. The criticism of volunteers who do it 7 days a week for free is unacceptable. It is a small handful I know, but disappointing all the same.
I have said on many occasions to come and ask me questions in the bar and after the game, and 4 or 5 did after the Radcliffe game.
A few problems from that game, not excuses, but problems. Jay Jeffries, Josh Gregory, Max Hazeldine and Antoine were all missing, four starters on most occasions. Macauley Harewood, Lewis Sugden and Josh Snowden had all been ill and asked not to play, and Jonah Gosling got injured in the warm up. We had to play Sugden and Snowden. Jack Fleming came off injured after ten minutes and Jacob Gregory who has played attacking on the right was moved to left back. We had 8 or 9 players that were either not playing or were not right. Ok, so we don’t expect to lose 7-0, nor do we accept losing whatever the score.
Since day one of our appointment we have competed in every single game. We’ve moved the club away from relegation and now (at the time of writing) sit 4 points away from 12th. We have worked hard to get things right both on and off the pitch. We are on target with our 3 year plan and we will keep working towards it. The plan will include utilising the U21 set up at some point in the season, including using local players when ready.
I base everything I do on honesty towards the players, the committee, the chairman and to you the supporters, and I will continue that. Win, lose or draw I will be interviewed. Win, lose or draw I will work hard all week to improve what we have done the week before. Win, lose or draw I will dust myself down, pick myself up and that’s only once I have picked up 20 players, our coaches, the committee, and some supporters along the way.
I will work hard to implement a good future for this club and I will do it whilst facing criticism and no doubt the odd personal attack. 99% of you have been outstanding.
After the game against Radcliffe the players didn’t clap the fans, we were all too embarrassed to and on this occasion I think they wanted off the pitch. But we certainly did not stop to sulk, and neither did my staff.
Onwards and upwards. Have a great New Year and see you in the bar!
Updated 13:00 - 26 Dec 2018 by Michael Barker