McFarlane hails Hornchurch support

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Urchins boss discusses Bridge Avenue faithful and dropping non-league attendances

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane has paid tribute to the Urchins supporters and thanked them for their support despite the struggles of last year.

The Bridge Avenue club endured a difficult season and eventually suffered relegation from the Ryman Premier after finishing 23rd in the table.

It all seems positive at the Essex club this summer, however, with George Purcell confirmed to be staying and David Knight already added to the squad.

McFarlane hopes that can help bring more fans through the turnstiles at Bridge Avenue for the new Ryman North campaign.

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“I think winning games of football, scoring goals and playing attractive football, which we are hoping to do, should bring more people back through the gate,” he said.

“Our attendance dropping was down to two issues and one was not winning games of football but attendances dropped throughout non-league.

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“I look at Billericay, who have always been a massive club in non-league football, and their attendance dropped and Canvey’s dropped. It wasn’t just us - it was non-league in general.

“That is why I have always taken my hat off to our supporters because we might not have the biggest crowd at home but I bet we take a lot more away than most sides.

“We went to Grimsby a couple of years ago and you could only hear our fans in amongst thousand of Grimsby fans.”

Hornchurch’s manager and some of the players received criticism last year, understandably so following some poor performance and results.

But Urchins boss believes some was unjustified. He didn’t mind negative comments being directed towards him but not his young players.

McFarlane did, however, heap more praise on the Bridge Avenue faithful for sticking with the team last year despite little success.

He added: “Some of the criticism did hurt last year and very, very early on it hurt more. Somebody said the players were Sunday morning footballers, well they were far from Sunday morning footballers. Comments like that don’t help anybody, especially the players.

“I can take criticism, I have had criticism as a manager and as a player but when you are trying to get the best out of players when you are in a poor position, murdering them like that is not the way to do it.

“On the whole the supporters here last year were absolutely top drawer. They could have been so much more critical than they were and they weren’t. Yes a minority criticised but you get that at all clubs at all levels.

“I use West Ham as an example. Sam Allardyce took so much stick but did what he was asked to do. It is a game of opinions and that is what makes it so interesting.”

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