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Season Review - Alex Cross

Season Review - Alex Cross

Simon Cullum25 Apr - 19:44
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As the 2023/24 campaign is now complete, I thought it would be a good time to summarise the season.

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for this season. From the volunteers that keep the club moving forwards, the various committees that are ensuring the club is progressing, the supporters who have been magnificent home and away and a big thank you to all the players and staff.
Ever since I walked into this club on the 9th November, I have felt a wealth of love and sense of belonging; I will be forever appreciative of the welcome.
A special thanks goes to everyone on the Executive Committee, they have all been excellent with every question asked, communicating effectively and ensuring we have a club that can begin to move forwards.

When I was appointed, the club had played sixteen league games and achieved fourteen points, averaging 0.87 points per game.
In the twenty league games we have had together we picked up thirty points, averaging 1.5 points per game.
The upturn in points per game has been excellent; we set out to beat last year’s points tally of forty one points which we achieved in four games less than the 2022/23 season which shows evidence that this club is moving forwards.
The only target I set the players was to beat that total and to complete it with games to spare is testament to their endeavour and commitment in both training and games.

We have had a tough time of it with injuries, Ryan Auger’s hamstring is possibly the only injury that we could have done some injury prevention work on in training but that happened early in my tenure, the rest of the injuries to Joe Carden (Patella), Sam Mulready (Shoulder), Junior Varela (Foot), Lewis Jackaman (Concussion and broken nose), Luis Cowie (Groin), Rob Cristica (Patella and ligament), Ted Johnson (Broken nose) and more recently Lee Chaffey, Ryan Sharman and Sam Mulready were all injuries that we could do nothing about.
Losing Joe Carden, Sam Mulready, Ryan Auger, Ted Johnson and loanee Junior Varela all within a short timeframe which was then followed by defeats against Brantham, Heacham and Fakenham certainly derailed any hopes of finishing higher up the table although due to the start, play offs were always going to be a struggle in my opinion, calculating when I took the job that we could only drop around seven points in the remaining twenty games to stand a chance of getting in.

There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes by everyone at the club to create an alignment throughout. The Reserves and U18s have both done well this season, they have produced eight players that have represented the First Team which is testament to the work of Paul Braybrooke, Andy Rollock, Tim Drayton and Gavin Wiseman.
We are fully expecting this to continue with the hard work that has gone into producing the EJA and Colts setups, there is a clear and open pathway for players to progress, something this club needs to be able to survive.

My highlights have been the Sheringham game where we were excellent throughout, the Ely game albeit not a classic but over 400 spectators from both clubs supporting their teams and more recently the Dereham game where we showed a fight and a doggedness to ensure last seasons points tally was beaten with games to spare, in front of an excellent following.

It was great to see so many stay behind for the awards, particularly after a poor display on the pitch. Ryan Sharman received Manager’s Player and Player’s Player whilst Jordan Chipps received Supporter’s Player, both extremely deserving of the individual accolades.
Ryan Sharman scoring 21 goals in 37 league games is testament to him and the service he has received throughout the season. Jordan Chipps has been ever present and regardless of where he has been placed on the pitch, he has given everything for the shirt. Pleased to see both players receive these rewards and there are many other players that despite a midtable season, deserve a lot praise for their contributions this season.

Finally, a massive thank you to those that I work closely with on the football side.
Sam Spencer and Lee Chaffey have been great both on and off the pitch. Two people that have a genuine care for the club and its direction, both good football people whilst being excellent sounding boards.
Sam Palmer has seen an over full physio room with some of the wildest injuries seen, he’s been excellent throughout, Joe Evans going through the footage, clipping everything that’s needed and directing it towards players has helped the group progress whilst Rick Boreham has been working hard out and about watching games to help move the playing squad forwards.
All the backroom staff have been nothing short of fantastic and I will always be appreciative of the work and commitment they put in. Last but certainly no means least, Mick Drury who has been looking after the kit all season. His knowledge and expertise on the club have helped me settle in smoothly, he has had his complications this season, but nothings stopped him being at games and sometimes training as well. On Friday 3rd May, we will be celebrating Mick’s 37 years at the club in his testimonial, something everyone is looking forward to being a part of.

There’s also lots going on up the club this summer with the Euros, car shows, football festivals and much more, keep an eye out on social media for all the events.
We look forward to seeing you in the 2024/25 season. There will be a fans forum at some point during the summer as well where you can come along and ask any questions.

Up The Greens

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