BLUE REVIEW: My biggest achievement in football

Whitby Town boss Chris Hardy
Whitby Town boss Chris Hardy

Whitby Town manager Chris Hardy’s weekly column.

Having had a few days to reflect on us having secured our Evo-Stik Premier Division status, what we have achieved has started to sink in.

For me personally, it’s right up there with my biggest achievements in football.

We had an awful lot of work to do to survive when I took the job here, and it’s been a tough task, probably the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in a footballing sense.

It’s been an all-consuming job and it’s a weight off my shoulders now that we’ve achieved our goal and the season is over.

Being involved in a relegation battle with almost no breathing space or any time to relax the whole time I’ve been here has taken its toll, not just on me, but also on the players.

Because we don’t have much depth in our squad, a lot of the lads have been falling apart at the seams in recent weeks in a physical sense.

We’ve just had to patch them up and send them out on to the pitch, and they’ve done brilliantly, but one thing that I didn’t realise until the Darlington game, was how mentally drained the squad were.

Take nothing away from Darlington who played brilliantly last Thursday with the title at stake, but our lads just had nothing left to give after the emotion of securing our status against Barwell just 48 hours earlier.

Our performance in that Darlington game wasn’t up to standard, which was obviously reflected in the scoreline, and we weren’t at out best against Skelmersdale on Saturday either.

But the boys were running on empty by that point, and Adam Gell, for example, had to come off at half-time because he just had nothing left in the tank after all the work he’s got through this season.

With nothing riding on our last two games, it meant that we probably took our foot off the gas and our level of performance maybe dipped a little bit.

That said, I’m pleased that we showed a positive reaction against Skelmersdale on Saturday after getting a heavy beating against Darlington.

That late goal from Dale Hopson ensured that we didn’t end the season with a loss and was a nice way to finish things off.