FC Halifax Town: Mixed emotions about the past year, says Bosomworth

David Bosomworth.
David Bosomworth.

David Bosomworth can be forgiven for pausing for thought before assessing FC Halifax Town’s year.

The Shaymen have suffered a mostly forgettable 12 months that has seen them win just 15 of their 53 games and have three different managers.

The year began with six wins from Town’s first eight games amid hopes of a second successive play-off finish, but an end-of-season slump preceded the team sleepwalking into the new season, with Neil Aspin nor Darren Kelly able to rouse Halifax from their slumber.

Only since Jim Harvey succeeded Kelly have Town finally woken up to ensure they ended 2015 they way they started it.

“It’s mixed emotions really,” said Bosomworth as he reflected on the year.

“I felt we’d got ourselves into such a good position around the end of the transfer window at the beginning of February.

“We’d got games in hand and we were in a good position to make a run for the play-offs.

“We backed the manager to bring some loan signings in but from there we seemed to go backwards.

“We lost to Wrexham sat home in the FA Trophy after we’d have a great win at Droylsden against Dartford and it hasn’t gone for us since then.

“We finished ninth, which is a very creditable position.

“But with the poor pitch and the results it was a disappointing end to the season.

“We dusted ourselves down and got cranked up for the start of the new season.

“There were a surprising number of departures so the team was re-jigged and the start of the season wasn’t what we’d anticipated at all.

“It started off badly at Boreham Wood, it was very poor result down there and it unravelled from there.

“The massively disappointing thing was to have to part company with a manager who had been with us six years.

“Neil did very well for us and the last thing we wanted to do was part company with him.

“It was really sad to find ourselves in that situation but we’re absolutely delighted Neil’s got a job at Gateshead, full-time, and I’m sure he’ll do really well there back in his home town.”

After Aspin’s departure following a 2-1 defeat at Guiseley, Bosomworth handed the reins to former Oldham boss Darren Kelly at the start of October, before sacking him less than two months later.

“We made a combination appointment of Jim Harvey and Darren Kelly with Darren as the manager and unfortunately it didn’t work out,” the chairman admitted.

“After 10 games we had to make the decision to part company with Darren, again not a decision you take lightly, but to all intents and purposes we had no option.

“We then appointed Jim on a caretaker basis and with a lot of pleasure we’ve been able to make that permanent.

“He’ll stay with us until the end of the season and we’ve seen in the time he’s been here it’s been a marvellous turnaround with the squad we had in place.

“We’d always felt the players we had in were capable of being far better than bottom or second-bottom of the division.

“There was obviously something not right and thankfully at the moment Jim’s found the recipe for getting the best out of the players and progressing up the league.

“We’re three places off the bottom of the division now but we’ve managed to bring a lot more teams into the relegation battle with Altrincham coming down, Guiseley not a long way from it.

“There has been an upturn in our fortunes but we can’t rest on our laurels.

“We’ve got a very important transfer window, players whose deals expire in the window, so we’ve got to see who do we want to keep, who do we want to bring in if it’s a case of adding to the squad, and not to have the effect that bring in loan players had last season.”

After the harmony of Aspin’s six year reign, Bosomworth admitted the revolving door of the manager’s office since then has been anathema to the club, but deemed the changes as a necessity.

“We’re all about stability and continuity but sometimes you’ve got to make a change,” he reflected.

“I think Watford had four managers last season but look where they are now.

“Sometimes you’ve got to fight to find the right recipe.

“A manager is only as good as his last game and none of us can rest on our laurels.

“The vital thing for us now it to be focused on being at least fifth from bottom of the table come the end of the season.

“We haven’t got to get ahead of ourselves, two defeats and you’re right back where you started.

“We’re still in the bottom four despite five wins and two draws.”

Bosomorth praised the impact Harvey has had on the Town squad since taking charge in November, with the club winning five of his seven matches at the helm, having won only three times all season before then.

“It’s a good turnaround but he’s got good players,” said Bosomworth.

“They didn’t look like good players and weren’t perhaps playing in the best system to suit them.

“It’s been a dramatic change because they’re the same players.

“We did bring in three loanees who we discussed with Jim, although I don’t think he’d seen any of them.

“They’ve played odd little bits here and there but there are players in the team who look unrecognisable from earlier in the season.”

Bosomworth says the club will look at “whatever is required” during the transfer window to keep the club safe, but feels Town are in a strong position should any bids come in for their most prized assets.

“What will be will be, we can’t foretell whether anyone will make a bid for any of our players,” he added.

“We like to think we’ve protected ourselves with the players we have that they’re all on extended contracts - Tuton, Peniket, Burrow - with options for next year.

“We need to look through the squad now and make offers to ones that we’d like to keep.”