Firstly I must say a big well done to everyone involved at the club.
Twelve months ago it was 30 years since my first managerial appointment at then Finchley FC., time I felt to take more of a ‘back seat’ in maybe a general managers type role and knowing of JD’s desire to step into the hot seat it fitted perfectly.
So both mine and JD’s roles evolved – hopefully the guidance and information I have been able to pass onto JD will prove influential to JD’s undoubted development in the future.
Let’s face it though, this is not just about one team – it's about four teams it takes to make up any good football club.
Firstly – the team on the park. With the summer additions last year and a few new faces during this year, it created a great foundation and team spirit which I firmly believe the success was built on.
Secondly - the management. JD. Mick, Murph, and also thanks to Matty Grey for his coaching. Additionally the physio’s overseen by Earl and it’s much appreciated the impact that Beth & Connor have had, so important in preparing the players and ensuring getting the maximum from the squad as often as possible.
Thirdly - the band of workers including the chairman and committee, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, Preparing a much better pitch, better training facilities and coordinating the off the parks matters, washing, cleaning and organising to allow the club to progress. Thanks to all those people plus Matt, the bar staff, Tanya in the kitchen and Carole in the boardroom.
And fourthly – to the amazing bunch of supporters who have steadily grown in numbers and sung the team to bigger and better things.
When taking all this into consideration, the story of the ups and downs of the season are significant – sometimes things happen for a reason.
Our ambitions at the start would be to be challenging for a play-off place with the squad that had been put together.
September - saw us off to a great start and we topped the table for a while - whilst in the FA Cup we all remember that amazingly resilient performance of the team and the youngsters at Hampton & Richmond in the FA Cup.
October – was a poor month, but then a ‘kick up the bum’ in the wake of the 3-1 defeat at Dereham was probably needed as a wakeup call.
November - and everyone who was there to witness it, will always treasure that away FA trophy tie draw at Hereford.
December - another ‘wake up call’ after defeat at Tilbury and concern as frustration’s set in and indiscipline with unnecessary bookings and sending offs threatening to hamper our ambitions.
January - and the team of the month award including that great 2-1 away win at Haringey borough.
February - we stuttered and another wakeup call when despite dominating the game we suffered an unjust 0-1 home defeat to improving Aveley.
March – saw us win 6 out of 7 games and who can forget that injury time winner by Muza from a free-kick against rivals Heybridge swifts, plus another team of the month award.
And finally April – a run of 22 league games since mid-January saw us pick up a remarkable 50 points from a possible 66.
Berks picking up the safe hands award – remember we have the second best defensive record in the division with Berks keeping 24 clean sheets in the season – I’m sure he would like me to thank his defenders and in particular the centre halves who have been outstanding whichever combination played this season.
I’ve always believed that to be successful a team needs a 25-30 goal a season player and that said we had Eoin Casey probably having his best non-league season to date with 31 goals in all competitions. Remarkably Muza was not far behind with 23 goals and probably as many assists from excellent set-pieces.
So finally, before the presentations if I’ve missed anyone then ‘thank you’ to you all.
Let’s look onwards and upwards next season and grow from strength to strength in our first ever venture into the premier division.
Updated 20:24 - 11 Jun 2018 by Jeff Barnes