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Former manager McFarlane says he will always cherish his 12 years at Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 December 2018

Colin McBride (right) and Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane at Bridge Avenue (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Colin McBride (right) and Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane at Bridge Avenue (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Former boss Jimmy McFarlane says he will always cherish his 12 year stint as a player and manager at AFC Hornchurch.

McFarlane originally joined the club in the summer of 2006 when McBride took over as Urchins manager and made his good friend and Purfleet legend player-assistant.

McFarlane played 107 times between August 2006 and April 2009 before he hung up his boots.

After retiring from playing in April 2009, McFarlane focused on being just assistant boss to McBride before he took over the reins in September; when McBride stepped down to concentrate on clearing the club’s debts.

He went on to manage the club for 502 fixtures before opting to step aside after their 3-1 defeat to Haringey Borough on the weekend.

“I have been since when Colin took over as manager, I went as his player and assistant manager first of all, but I have been the manager for 9 or 10 years.

“Those are years that I will cherish forever, some ups and some downs, but more ups than downs.

“My memories of my time as a manager are fond ones.”

A memorable promotion to the Conference South was achieved in the 2011/12 campaign and although relegation followed the next term.

Urchins reached the Ryman Premier play-offs the next season, but missed out on another promotion and went down in 2014/15.

Now back in the North division, he got the team into the play-offs on two occasions before in the 2017/18 term, they finally returned to the Premier again.

“Promotions are the ones as they’re the hardest things to get, last years promotion, but the one that sticks in my memory and the most proud moment of all of them is winning promotion to the Conference South.

“We weren’t the biggest powers at the time, Colin and the directors were still trying to clear the debt, and they were giving me every penny they could get.

“There was some big clubs at the time, Lowestoft were spending big money on players, so for us to get promotion was a fantastic achievement.

“Followed by last year, the Essex Senior Cup, and numerous play-off semi-finals – one that sticks in my mind was the semi-final against Kingstonian.

“We had to take Stefan Payne off after 15 minutes because they’d got to him.

“Stefan was an out and out match winner, he a massive loss, but he was getting absolutely battered.

“Then Ricky Hayles came up with a trademark header and we won the game.

“But there isn’t enough time in your day for me to talk about all the games that standout but on the whole great memories.

“They will live with me until my dying day, great memories, great club, great people, great owners and I can’t criticise in anyway.”

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