As the year and decade comes to a close I thought I would take the opportunity to pen a few notes in what has been a more than eventful year for the club.
Even the most optimistic of supporters would be forgiven in struggling to find positives over the course of the past year – it’s been a difficult spell for the club, there is no doubt about that – particualry with all that was surrounding the non-playing side of Basingstoke Town.
On a personal note; I’ve spoken before about just how fond I am of this club. Now, I am well aware that emotion alone will not change anything; but from a supporters side I believe it’s worthy of note as it will add assurance that my efforts will never waver. From the day I was brought in by Jason Bristow I’ve been treated with nothing but respect and encouragement from the hard working volunteers at the club, the players and supporters. That support has not gone unnoticed.
I’ve had the luxury of being able to talk to plenty of fans after games, particularly those that have travelled to both home and away fixtures. I enjoy those conversations; not that I ever need reminding but those moments reaffirm just what this club means to so many people. You can sometimes forget in relative isolation after a defeat or draw that when you’re sat at home for the next 48 hours reliving the game and trying to find areas that you can improve – losses hurt – you can forget that other people take that result home with them too. It’s important our players realise the responsibility that plays – I know they are starting to. They know themselves how much a result improves their own weekends; it goes the same for the 300 odd people that are watching us and those following from far and distant places.
We’re in a very fortuitous position that our supporters not only understand football but more deeply; they understand current situation at our club and whilst it’s difficult to accept; it has enabled the support to be unwavering. Now I’m not foolish enough to think that there won’t be frustrations, nor am I naive enough to know that there won’t be future set backs, but this club is built on its supporter base. It’s a driving force with more potential than we have ever seen in our new found form as a community club. That energy can be harnessed in taking us forward. Forgive me for my ‘Trumpism’ – but together, we can make this club great again. And that is the only way that is going to happen, if we all strive forward in the same direction, together.
So what is that direction?
To build a club that Basingstoke is truly proud of. That stems from a first team squad that is full of talented players who are, more importantly, hardworking and understand what it means to play for Basingstoke Town. With an Academy built on the same foundation of hard-work, determination and talent that is being fed by a prosperous junior set up with the same principles. A club that sustains itself by creating its own talent and furthermore pride in ‘one of our own’ making their way into the first team. I have been to see a lot of the junior teams this year – there are some very good players amongst them, ones who I hope have a dream of playing for Basingstoke Town.
Positives in Football do not come to you, we have to work for them. That is something we will all be doing, and I can speak for everyone involved at the club – we see that hard work first hand; not just on the training pitch but also in the board room, countless meetings and those action points being put into process. This period will not define our future.
Over the course of the next few weeks there will be new signings to help and add quality to that which we already possess. Players who want to be here, who want to work hard with a grit and determination to strive for results each and every game. From there, it’s an education in just what this club is, what we stand for and the direction we want to go. We want players to be excited by our future – come pre-season I want to be in a position that players are hopeful of our call.
We want this next year to be a truly positive one; one which can lay a foundation for future success. To enable us to do that, everyone needs to be together. I’m a passionate believer in how much togetherness plays in football – that’s not just in our changing room and on the pitch – thats our players, volunteers, staff and supporters all as one. It’s our biggest strength, we have a big town, a town we can all be proud of and it’s about time the town saw the same pride in our club. I’m a passionate believer in this club and I understand what has to be done: those wheels are in motion.
So, as this year draws to a close; we can learn lessons from what has gone before and use it as further motivation to strive for more. A big thank you to everyone who has shown this club and me support over the course of the past year. Keep the faith, be vocal, be encouraging, support where you can.
All that is left to be said is that on behalf of my players and the club, we’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope and trust that, together, it’ll be a successful one.