Manager’s Thanks…

Manager, Dan Brownlie penned some notes following today’s announcement that the season has come to an early close…

The news broke this afternoon that the season will be ended with immediate effect and that results have been expunged.

Let’s make no bones about it, it’s been tough a year. However, I cannot fault the effort of everyone involved – that goes for the boys in our dressing room, the supporters, the board and the incredible volunteers we have here at Basingstoke Town.  

On the pitch; we were striving to be better and there were, of course, areas of concern – particularly defensively – although the addition of recent signings certainly steadied that. There were defensive moments during the season where we looked like the early adopters of social distancing.  The league has got the Daz whites out and removed the stains of Frome and Thatcham which, for us, is no doubt a blessing.

There were some fantastic moments however, the comebacks against North Leigh and Highworth were stand out; Zach Robinson tearing the roof of the net in the latter and having the whole place erupt was one of them. I remember walking back through the ‘tunnel’ and both sides had fans three deep; the atmosphere was electric. I remember going into the changing room saying to the boys – ‘that’s Basingstoke.’  

The win against Barnstaple also proved to be a pivotal moment; it gave us the ability to have everything in our hands. Although we scored two of the worst goals I’ve ever seen; the efforts and gritty determination of our performance earned that slice of luck. We finished with daylight between us and bottom side in the end; but that moment really mattered. It’s been a season where off field matters have had more focus than the on field ones; but the boys have stuck with it and in even in incredibly difficult moments, some inflicted upon us by our own performances, they’ve shown a determination, courage and desire to bounce back the following game. That same desire to bounce back bleeds through this club; and with light at the end of what felt like an endless dark tunnel, our club is determined to break through into a bright new future. It’s not been easy; the patience, determination and abilities of those at the head of this club have at times been grossly underrated and I can only thank them for the support and guidance they have shown me, it has been a thankless task at times but those who see your minute by minute efforts will appreciate the task you were handed. 

A further and much warranted thank you to Aaron Nicholson who has been fantastic support to me and the boys. A calm head (on most occasions) with a great understanding of the game and beyond his years in the understanding of players.  

Brian, Jack, Troddy and Gideon who, in their own roles, have played pivotal parts inside our changing room and are much loved characters. 

I’ll of course say thank you privately to all, but in whatever way our volunteers have contributed this year, know that it means the world to me and my players. Thank you.  We’ve gone through one of the hardest periods our club has ever had.  Now it’s time to regroup, rebuild and start piecing together the community club we should all be immensely proud of. I’ll be putting the ball away for a short period; and then it’s back to prepping for the next campaign. Pre-season, friendly fixtures and of course putting together a team that can take this proud club forward. If I’m honest, the ball never really goes away, but it may bounce around the kitchen for a few days until I begin the hard work again!  

I’d like to say a huge thank you to our supporters; an overwhelmingly passionate group, particularly those who travel both home and away. Your unwavering support has not gone unnoticed; but also your patience, belief and understanding have made a huge impact on this group. From the moment I walked out in my first game in charge away at Totton; I was made all too aware of the responsibility that comes with leading this great club; it’s a responsibility I shoulder with great pride and the passion from behind the goal always reminds us that every moment deserves our absolute best.  

For now, though, it’s time to concentrate on your own health, family and friends. In what is a crazy moment in all of our lives – we need to feel comfortable in leaning on one another… metaphorically speaking of course, social distancing and all that…!  I know the media team have previously said that ‘we’re all in this together’ and that’s during the good times and the bad. As a community that is growing confidence within itself, make sure you utilise the network. We’re stronger together… but for now just stand two metres apart.  

Whilst this may sound like a Jerry Springer round up – Try and find enjoyment in areas you’ve never discovered before. Look after yourselves and each other.  We are looking forward to seeing you all very soon.

Up The ‘Stoke.