We have reached the end of another NCEL league season, our 40th consecutive year since joining as founder members in 1982.
I want to start by saying a big thank you to every single supporter that has encouraged the players during this season, the game is nothing without fans and we should never forget that, and it has been good to see our average attendance again finishing well over 100 again.
Secondly, our fantastic sponsors who contribute so much. We have been fortunate to have great support from AA Construction Support Solutions, both with our 1st team and U16’s as kit sponsors, but Tony McDonald has offered so much more, and we are massively grateful. I also want to thank the Monotones Band who sponsored our second team kit and will play free of charge on the 7 July 2023 when we welcome our German partner clubs FC Normannia and FC Bargau to Barnsley. We have had great matchday sponsorship support and again we appreciate every single person and business that has pulled together for this great football club. I also want to thank English Rose Tea Room who have taken care of our half time hospitality and helped us with matchday catering, and Pinto Property who have been our ground sponsor again, this kind of support often goes unnoticed but makes such a massive difference.
And finally, a huge thank you to Luke Forgione, James Ritchie, Craig Horner and every single player, volunteer and committee member that has represented and supported the club this season. Many people don’t see the sacrifices that managers, coaches, support teams and players put into a season week after week over 38 games, it is relentless, and I am proud to be associated with every single person that has given up their time this season.
As we reflect on the season we have all learned lessons, we have all stayed strong and believed in each other and as a football club we can be proud of that. No-one anticipated a start that would yield 3 points from 9 games, some of those defeats hurt like hell but Luke and his players never gave in and worked hard to get results. When things are going against you it is easy to give in, look to make unnecessary changes and several people voiced that at the time of that difficult start to the season. It was without doubt the most difficult period I have had to deal with as Club Chairman, but as I have said on several occasions I never stopped believing in Luke and his players and they deserve a huge amount of credit and respect in what has been the most competitive NCEL league season for many years, with some big money being paid out. We trusted in what we were doing, and I believe that we have proved we have made the right decisions.
Defeat hurts, and it should hurt if you care about what you are doing. As hard as defeat is, it is important to stay balanced, reflective and stick to your beliefs and principles and not make knee jerk reactions to events.
As we enter our final home game against Shirebrook Town, we can reflect on an unbeaten home run in 2023 and look to finish the season with a good hard performance against a side that towards the end of the season have invested in pretty much a new group of players. Hopefully we can enjoy the final game of the season together and I know that our supporters will cheer the players on for one last time.
For the final time this season, I want to thank everyone that has believed in the club, stuck with us when times have been difficult and most importantly trusted in me and my committee colleagues to look after the future of the club, it has always been a privilege to be a custodian of this fantastic club.
Enjoy your summer break, everyone deserves some rest and recuperation.
Season 2023/24 is not far away!