Manager wishes to thank supporters, staff and players for their efforts in the 2018-19 campaign.
Firstly, I would like to wish a warm welcome to Neil Harris, his staff, the players and supporters who are making the journey up from London to the DW and I also wish you all a safe journey home.
Sunday’s match - for large parts of the season - looked like it would have a massive bearing on the outcome of the season for both teams and, as I am sure Neil would agree, we’re both sat in the dugouts wanting to win and to be competitive but equally satisfied of the importance that the game carries. We are delighted to have retained our status in the division with strong wins against Leeds United and Preston North End. As a group of a people, we always wanted to achieve our objectives by winning our own games.
Thank you to all of our supporters both home and away – especially to the away fans – as good journeys were few and far between, certainly our home form is something we should be very proud of.
A couple of quick thanks and congratulations: firstly, to all the staff based at the DW Stadium for the matchday experience you provide from when we arrive to when we go home and to all the staff who work behind the scenes to operate the club, stadium and Community Trust each day - a football club is very much more than the players on the pitch. A massive thank you to you all.
A further congratulations to academy manager Gregor Rioch for the fantastic work that is going on at the academy over at Christopher Park, across all age groups; the under-18s will take a lot of the plaudits and rightly so, but Nick Chadwick’s development squad - in its infant year – managed to win the league and our younger age groups are achieving regular success – well done to all the coaches, scouts and staff involved. The bigger picture is always the hope that one day we see boys progress from younger age groups to first team football as was highlighted at St. Andrew’s last week. Joe Gelhardt, Jensen Weir, Adam Long and Owen Evans were all in the squad last week and on Sunday Charlie Jolley will be involved in the matchday squad for the first time. I am sure the boys will be very thankful to all of the staff involved in their development and it was/will be a very proud moment for their families.
To our new chairman Darren Royle and director Joe Royle, our CEO Jonathan Jackson and our new owners IEC, thank you for your support. Football management is a perilous game as we all know. The backing that myself and the staff have felt over the last five or six months has been fantastic, culminating in the league position we are going to obtain and we can all be very proud of the season we have had.
Next to my staff, a massive thank you to Leam Richardson my assistant manager - who has unfortunately had to suffer me for many years now! - but is always a constant help and support and plays a massive part in everything we do along with Peter Reid, Anthony Barry [first team coach], Nick Colgan [goalkeeping coach], Nick Meace and Andrew Procter [medical], Adam Smith and Alan Moore [our opposition analysis team] – thank you all so much for your support and help during this season. To Chris Brass – head of recruitment - and Gary Finley our chief scout, and all of the club’s other player recruitment staff at all levels, so much of your work goes unnoticed but is an important part of our club’s future.
Thank you to all the staff at our training ground, who have to put up with our mood swings on a weekly basis! From the kitmen, to the chef, the maintenance staff, Karen our player liaison officer, the media department, the grounds staff and Chris Laird and Sarah Guilfoyle in Football Administration, all of whom put in so much unnoticed work – good football clubs are made up of many good people and I am very fortunate to have a lot of these around me.
Finally thank you to my family; Joanne my partner. To Liam, Megan, Kieran, Connor and Gabriella, my children. My mum and dad, Joanne’s parents, my brother David, his wife Jennie and their children Jamie and Ben and all of my immediate friends – who continually support me, especially during this season, which at times has been very tough on us all. You all get a little break before we go again!! Thank you so much.
A sincere thank you to you all.
Enjoy Sunday’s match!