Bright future for new look Shaymen

Directors Bobby Ham, Stuart Peacock and Chairman David Bosomworth
Directors Bobby Ham, Stuart Peacock and Chairman David Bosomworth

FC Halifax Town director Bobby Ham believes the club are in a good position to conquer the Blue Square North division this season.

The Shaymen have added 10 new faces to the squad which missed out on promotion last year when they lost in the play-off semi final to Gainsborough Trinity after finishing third.

After a string of impressive performances throughout pre-season, which saw Town win seven out of eight matches, Ham believes the new look Shaymen are set to challenge for the title.

“We think pre-season has gone quite well,” said Ham. “But you can never read too much into it because you can win all your pre-season games and lose your first league games, and visa-versa.

“That said, it’s nice to get into the winning habit and seeing the team gelling together.”

The Town board have shown faith in manager Neil Aspin, who has guided the Shaymen to two promotions and one play-off finish in the last three seasons, by bringing in 10 new signings this summer - over half of who have football league experience.

“We had a meeting with Neil where he told us what he would like and then we worked to bring those players in, providing they fit the budget,” said Ham.

As has been well documented, the club had an unexpected cash boost last season thanks to the double sale of Jamie Vardy and a televised FA Cup clash with Charlton at the Shay.

But the club are in no rush to fritter money away as they look to build for the future - which could, in time, result in a return to full time status.

“The next step will be going full time and for that to happen you need some money behind you,” said Ham.

“The wage bill has gone up slightly for this season but we’ve set the budget according to what we can afford.

“We’re trying to build the club off the field as well as on it, and the events we organise, such as golf days and sportsman’s dinners, all contribute to giving the manager more money to use on the squad.”

Promotion is very much the aim, but Ham knows that Town face a difficult battle to get into the Conference National.

“The Blue Square North is a tough league and the standard is going up all the time,” said Ham.

“I know Neil couldn’t believe how much the standard had improved since he was last in the division with Harrogate.

“As more players are brought in to the top level from overseas, it pushes other players further down the leagues and the Conference is now pretty much a fifth league.

“This year we’ve signed more experienced players because there were a few times last season where we were a bit naive and we wanted to address that.”