Jimmy McFarlane staying with Hornchurch for 2016/17 Ryman North campaign

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 May 2016

Hornchurch players show their despair at the final whistle after losing at Harlow Town (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch players show their despair at the final whistle after losing at Harlow Town (pic: David Simpson/TGSPHOTO)

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Hornchurch held their Presentation Night last Friday, but it actually started a day early with the news that the Ryman League had announced that Jimmy McFarlane had won the April Manager of the Month award and deservedly so with five wins and one draw from the six matches played.

The Ryman Golden Gloves award for April went to our own Sam Mott, which gave him a unique hat-trick of having won the award for the third time this season.

Last month Mott only let in one goal in his five games, and over the full campaign he achieved 22 clean sheets.

One award that the Ryman League does not have is for the best defence in the league. If there was one, then the Urchins defence would have won it with ease - 46 matches and only 35 goals conceded.

To put the performance into perspective, the next best were the two 3G-pitch teams - Harlow Town on 47 and AFC Sudbury on 49.

At the Presentation Night, there came the announcement that everyone was eagerly, and perhaps nervously, awaiting - manager McFarlane is staying.

We were a little worried because he had been somewhat disillusioned, especially when the truth came out about a player betting against his own team, in our Conference South season.

But, as Colin McBride said in the final programme notes of the season, “I don’t think there’s a better person to manage the club, not just as a manager but as a man... I am desperate for him to continue; he’s the best person for this football club.”

Jim has now been in charge for 378 matches, making him the second longest-serving manager for Hornchurch. Arthur Wenborn leads the way with 459 in charge.

But if you also take Jim’s playing record into account - he played 107 times for Hornchurch - this makes him to 485 matches in which he has been directly involved.

Perhaps predictably, all the Players’ awards went to George Purcell. He was named as Supporters Player of the Season, Players Player of the Season, and he also won the Hornchurch Golden Boot award for his 41 goals.

Not only did Purcell become the highest scorer in Urchins history, but he is also the first player to score more than 40 goals in one season since Hornchurch achieved senior status in 1938.

Another record was set up during the season, when we won 9-0 at Barkingside, marking the clubs best-ever away win. They have won 9-0 on five other occasions, but all of them have been at home.

And when Calvin Poku scored five goals at Cricklefields, he equalled the record for a Hornchurch player for individual goals in one game. Only two other players have managed five goals in a game - Ernie Coote, twice, and Alan Brett.

And a mention for our Under 21 team, effectively our reserve side. They finished in second position in the Ryman Under 21 league, and four of the players made their first team debut - Sam Dickens, Jake Piper, Will King and Frankie Holland.

Our Youth Alliance team, represented by Barking Abbey, had another successful season, finishing second in the table, just one point behind Chelmsford City.

And one off-the-field achievement - and a remarkable one at that - AFC Hornchurch are now completely debt-free.

For anyone wanting to take in a few local cup finals, there are plenty still to come at Bridge Avenue.

Tuesday - Essex Olympian Reserve League final - 7.30pm

Thursday - Brentwood Sunday League Cup final - 7.30pm

Saturday - East London and City Airport League Cup final - 7 pm (please note - this is an evening kick off)

Sunday - Essex Sunday Football Combination final - 2.30pm

In all cases the bar will be open and also hot and cold refreshments will be available.

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