The manager's notes from today's matchday magazine
Today we end the home part of what has been by far and away the most difficult season of the ten that I have enjoyed as a manager. Some of the things that we have had to overcome this year have been quite incredible and ultimately it looks like we will fall a little short of what we set out to achieve. I do believe that there have been circumstances along the way that have held us back but I do not want this to be a page full of excuses. We have come up short and people have asked questions because of that but the fact is that it has hardened my resolve. From a personal point of view, and talking to the staff, we are determined to prove any doubters wrong and to justify the support and belief that people have shown in what we are doing. We have a fierce determination and will work throughout the summer to make that happen.
It has been a streaky season from the first three games to the losing run to putting ourselves right in there at Christmas and then coming out of the running. We beat the two league leaders in successive games but have not been able to put enough runs like that together. We have shown that we can beat the teams at the top of what many managers agree has been the strongest League 2 for many years but will finish just outside the play-off places.
We want to end the season on a high and it was great to reward the travelling support at Dagenham last Saturday, where the fans were excellent all the way through. We added a couple of youngsters to the squad and I know how much the chairman wants to see that happen. I think that department of the club is the healthiest it has been for years. Congratulations to Chrissy Allen and his side on an excellent season. That will be reflected in how many young players we are taking on for next year.
I think it has been a season where you look back and we have not been dominated by many teams all season. There has been the odd game but I cannot think of too many 90 minutes where our goalkeeper has needed to be Man of the Match. In difficult conditions we have tried to play our football all the way and generally from box to box we have dominated most teams. We have to be more ruthless in both boxes. There are decisions to be made in the summer and they will be made positively, honestly, and with the sole intention of improving this football club.
I would like to thank the players, every one of them, for their efforts this season. I would also like to thank the staff for all their hard work and thank the chairman for all the support that he has given me in the tough times. I would also like to single out the skipper for special praise. I know there are awards being handed out today but he has been an absolutely outstanding captain on and off the pitch and I would like to thank him personally for that.
The club still has a fantastic following in hard economic times. It continues to attract decent support and while we may not have made the strides that we wanted to do this season we are now an established Football League club and will be going all out to finish in the top ten this season and then take it to another level next time around. I think most supporters know we are not a million miles off where we need to be, but we also recognise that we have to make it happen sooner rather than later. I am very confident that during the summer we can make that a reality as one club together.