After the announcement from the Football Association, our season in the North West Counties has come to an end and all results will be ‘expunged.’ However, this does not mean that we will forget the season that never got to be. After 29 games, we topped the table with a healthy nine-point lead with a game in hand over second placed Rylands as the season promised to have a barnstorming end to it. In amongst all of our league success, we reached the Semi Final of the Macron Cup as we looked to secure successful defence of an extremely popular competition across our fanbase. We have made many long-lasting memories with some superb comebacks against Witton Albion, Skelmersdale, Northwich Victoria and Longridge Town which gave us some incredible scenes in the process. In these moments seeing the passion from the players and supporters alike showed us all how much of a footballing family we have become over the last nine months.
Once the news was announced regarding the outcome of the season, Club Media Officer Matt Waters caught up with Co-Manager Wayne Goodison to discuss the season. When speaking to Wayne, it was clear that he had nothing but pride for the players for their performances. He said, “Both Paul and I have been full of admiration for all the players since the day we came back in June for Pre-Season. The application and way they approached every training session and games has been exceptional. They can be, and should be rightfully proud of what they have done over the last nine months. You only have to look at the table to see how consistent and focussed they have been. Like every fan, it’s been a pleasure to watch them each week!”
This season we have seen the players go the extra mile putting in some excellent performances, such as our stunning 9-0 win over Litherland REMYCA back in November. However, injury problems to some of our key squad members meant that we have seen some players play in new positions such as Mike Koral who has been excellent at right back. Now our season has come to an end, Wayne told me that planning has already begun for next season. He added, “We are going to review everything and speak to all the players over the next few days. We had already started to plan Pre-Season and now that we don’t have a target date that makes it a little difficult, however we know what we want to do and we’ll discuss that with the lads and put that into place when the time comes. It also means that we will be able to strengthen with five new signings in, Jack Pritchard, Ryan Mitchell, Jack Irlam, Joe Woolley and of course Ryan Jackson!”
Wayne also stated his hope that all the current squad stay with the club next season to carry on our success from this year. He continued, “Any team ultimately has to perform and be consistent to get what they deserve, so hopefully everyone will want to stay with us and also try to make us successful again next season. The motivation really will be to do well in the new season.”
We are all experiencing unprecedented times and situations we are all unfamiliar too and Wayne paid tribute to the family atmosphere everyone at the club has created. “I actually feel as disappointed for the fans and all the people behind the scenes as I do for the players! We are truly a community and fan led club so any success on the pitch is reflective of the support and effort off it. We will all be back at it to enjoy more games and performances together.”
The admiration and pride that Wayne and Paul have had for the players has been evident all season, and Wayne believes they have made his and Paul’s job “At times redundant.” Wayne added, “We’ve been impressed with them all season, they deserve the credit given to them. They really have a close bond and crucially they are all very talented footballers, which makes our role not just easy, but at times redundant. I think their collective focus to commit to each other is a major focus in their performance levels.”
Finally, he rounded off the interview with an important reminder for everyone in these difficult times. He said, “I think it’s really important that everyone stays safe, focussed on what’s being asked of us and we think carefully about how we can support each other to get through the current situation. Football will return and we certainly want all the 1874 family to be back with us when it does!”
This has been a situation nobody anticipated and although we won’t end the season as we hoped to, we can all remain proud of what everyone at 1874 has achieved on and off the pitch and we will see you all next season!