McFarlane making plans for Hornchurch

Manager in talks for next season already

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane has already started making plans for Confcerence South football next season.

McFarlane saw Urchins gain promotion from the Ryman Premier Division in dramatic style this week and is looking forward to a new challenge.

He said: “It’s one of the best seasons I’ve ever had. The chairman gave me Tuesday and Wednesday off, but it’s important to secure this group of players.

“I’ve already spoken to some of the players about next year. All of the players will be invited back, they deserve it.

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“Any league is a tough challenge, but if a club like ours, from the chairman down to the kit-man, who is the best kit-man in the league, all pull together we’ve got half a chance.”

Michael Spencer sealed a 2-1 extra time win over Lowestoft with barely a minute left in their play-off final to send Urchins up.

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And, although McFarlane revealed the thought of missing out on promotion had crossed his mind, he is focused on the next episode of Hornchurch’s history.

He added: “I watched Sky last week and the Reading manager (Brian McDermott) said it took them 10 weeks of the new season to over a play-off final defeat. “It’s always in your mind.

“Football is my life. I hate the lay-off and need to do something!

“My wife watches all the soaps so I’ve watched a lot of games this season, in the Conference South as well. The top eight are very good and there’s some big money there.

“I might be told differently, but as manager my aim is to stay up in the first year and consolidate.”

Colin McBride, who took over as chairman when the club’s existence was in doubt three years ago, paid tribute to successor McFarlane and is also hoping for brighter future.

He said: “I’ve never felt so ill. I took the dog for a walk at 5am, it means so much.

“It was emotional, the most I’ve ever been at a game. It’s not me really.

“The turnaround, from where we’ve come from, makes it all the sweeter.

“It was a game either side could’ve won. We got our noses in front and have defended well all season. I didn’t think they would score twice.

“We kept trying to do the right things and you’ve got to come out of it winning in those circumstances.

“When I knew I couldn’t do both jobs any more, I would only give it up for one person. Jim is a great mate and I’m very pleased for him.

“I know the hard work he does. He was at the club with me on Thursday night, hovering and wiping down tables.

“Now he’s got a promotion on his CV and we’ll enjoy this, then we’ll sit down and focus on the next challenge.

“We averaged crowds of around 300 this season and hopefully can get that up to 500 next season. We’ll be playing against new teams and hope that captures the imagination.”

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