Barnoldswick Town striving to improve on and off the pitch after challenging season
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Andy Harrison’s men failed to capitalise on a promising start to the campaign by eventually finishing 19th in the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) Premier Division, seven points above the dropzone.
Chairman Nigel Hill believes there’s plenty of potential to be unlocked at Greenberfield Lane and is hoping that success begins next season.
“Being totally honest I have to say we are massively under-achieving, although there may be a bit of bias in that,” he told NWCFL’s website.
“However, given the facilities we have, the player pool we have and budget I feel we could have been aiming for top 10, maybe top eight, but it just hasn’t happened.
“We recently lost five key players, one to injury and four to other clubs but whilst we have access to quite a big player pool, players will always get attracted to town clubs closer to home and when you have a strong player base from the likes of Preston, Manchester, Burnley and so on it’s difficult to keep hold of players at times.
“We have noticed a trend at clubs at our level of going down the contract route and whilst we see why they do it, I personally don’t think it’s feasible at this level.
“Loyalty is a rare thing these days and players generally play for the manager, it’s increasingly rare that a player will play for a club but as a club we will always make players welcome and feel part of the club community.
“Looking back to the season before last, we did okay, we had potential to do more than we did. Last season things just didn’t go our way.
“We had a good run in the FA Vase and tried to bring in a number of youth players, but we just struggled to get results midway through the season and since Christmas only had four or five wins and finished up a lot closer to the relegation zone than we would have liked.
“We have fresh plans in place for next season and as a club we are hoping to get things going again on the field next season and challenge at the right end of the table.
“We don’t worry too much about the overall position but we’re open and honest about the fact we think we could do well. We just need a couple of things to go our way.”
While Hill is keen to improve on the pitch, he also continues to strive to make progress away from it too.
“We certainly would like to see a massive improvement in our league position and we will always look to work with the management team to help them bring in some new players ahead of the new season,” he said.
“We have a strong coaching staff here who are ambitious, capable and looking to do well with the team, so I expect we will give it a go next season and see where we are at Christmas. Hopefully we will be challenging on a few fronts.
“Off the park we would like to remain stable as a business as well as getting a few more folks through the door.
“We can average 290 here when things are okay but at times last season we were down to around 140.
“Admittedly when Burnley do well, a number of our supporters can be over there but when we do well, we can offer a viable alternative for their ticket fee.
“We have a nice facility which is clean and tidy, well appointed and a place where people can come and enjoy football. Stability is massive for us and we will take that every time, but we have potential to do more than that.”