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Bostik North: Humbled Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane so thankful for the messages he received after his stroke

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 April 2018

Jimmy Mcfarlane embraces Hornchurch forward George Purcell at the end of the game at Witham Town which saw the club secure promotion to the Bostik Premier (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

Jimmy Mcfarlane embraces Hornchurch forward George Purcell at the end of the game at Witham Town which saw the club secure promotion to the Bostik Premier (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

The Urchins manager suffered a stroke on February 19 and has been blown away by the number of people who contacted him

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane embraces Dave Collis after promotion is confirmed at Witham Town (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane embraces Dave Collis after promotion is confirmed at Witham Town (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane this week admitted he has been humbled by the amount of people who have got in touch with him over the past two months.

The Urchins boss is currently recovering after suffering a stroke in the early hours of February 19.

McFarlane has already made great progress, but accepts the journey to full health will be a long one.

What has helped him tenfold is the outpouring of love he received after news broke he had suffered a stroke.

Tributes were paid by hundreds of people involved in non-league football and plenty have got in touch with the former Purfleet defender via text or phone call.

It has left McFarlane feeling blown away, he said: “The amount of messages I have received has been unbelievable. I have been amazed. I am not someone who goes overboard with showing their emotion, but I have been amazed.

“What I’ve tried to do is thank people personally. I’m not great with texting, or the fastest of repliers, and I’m not on social media, so I’ve just tried to thank people when I’ve seen them out and about.

“I wouldn’t want to embarrass people, but I have been blown away with the amount of messages I have received and what people have said and the fact they have taken the time to message me.

Jimmy McFarlane (right) watches Hornchurch vs Canvey Island from the touchline at Bridge Avenue with son Ricky less than a month after suffering a stroke (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).Jimmy McFarlane (right) watches Hornchurch vs Canvey Island from the touchline at Bridge Avenue with son Ricky less than a month after suffering a stroke (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

“Humbling is how I would describe the response I have had and I had one from a person who I think I’ve only met once. I only shook his hand at the end of a game once and he sent me an unbelievably personal message.

“The fact he has taken the time to get my number from a secretary and send me a text is amazing. I am still getting them now and trying to reply because I have never been the quickest when it comes to that.

“Colin (McBride) has been unbelievable too and he was with me every single day. I know we are close friends, but there is nothing that says you have to do the things he has done for me just because we are close friends.

“One of the things I would have worried about was the football, but I didn’t need to worry because he was there and there is just not enough time in the day for me to talk about the amount of well wishes I received. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

McBride, who has worked with McFarlane at various different non-league clubs for the past two years, took over first-team matters while his close friend recovered from his stroke and this week led Hornchurch to the title.

On the sidelines was the Urchins boss and he also paid tribute to his family and all of the players at the Bridge Avenue club.

McFarlane added: “All of my family have been through it, we’ve all been through it together, but the support I have received from them and the messages I have got have really helped me get to this stage so far.

“My Mrs has been amazing, so have my children and everyone around me and it is truly humbling.

Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (left) and Colin McBride (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane (left) and Colin McBride (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

“The players as well, they are all young men and they don’t need to send me stuff, but some of the things they have said have left me amazed and it is everyone.

“All the messages I have received have helped me get to this stage of my recovery because it has been all positive. I can’t thank everyone enough and I will never forget this either. I will remember the messages I have received for the rest of my life.”

There is still plenty of hard work ahead, but now Hornchurch have secured promotion back to the Bostik Premier, McFarlane is determined to return.

He led the club into the then-titled Conference South back in 2012 and believes this current group can emulate his squad from the six years ago.

“Getting back in the dugout is what is driving me on,” said McFarlane. “I am doing well in my recovery and I am expecting to make a full recovery, but there is no timescale with these things.

“Hopefully I can get the all clear from the doctors when I’m ready and if there are no risk to my health then I’d like to do what we did a couple of years ago and try to get this club back in the Conference South.

“These players are good enough to do well in the Bostik Premier next season, but we know it is going to be a real test.

“It is a big league with big clubs and it will be a challenge, but it is one we can handle and that is what is driving me on and that is what I’m looking to do.”

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