FC Halifax Town: Manager's position was never under threat, says chairman

Town chairman David Bosomworth insists Billy Heath's position as manager was never under threat during the club's nine-game winless run.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th January 2017, 11:19 am

Halifax have won their last three games in a row to move back into the National League North play-off picture, having not won in their previous nine matches.

The tail-end of that run saw Heath and the team come under criticism from some Town supporters, who called for the manager to be sacked.

But Bosomworth feels some fans went too far in their condemnation of Heath.

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Billy Heath

He said: “We didn’t have the greatest of runs, but you have to put it into context.

“We played two difficult FA Cup ties, both with replays, another replay against Matlock (in the FA Trophy) - that can take some energy out of the players.

“Nobody here is wanting to draw or lose for nine games. We weren’t sat smoking a pipe and doing nothing about it.

“We have regular discussions and try to work our way through it.

Billy Heath

“There was a lot of pressure going round for the Chorley game.

“Any fan who pays their money has a right to their say, but in certain circumstances, the level of abuse that was taking place prior to that game was excessive and people were feeling uncomfortable.

“I don’t think that was fair.

“We’ve gone through changing managers last season, and everybody knows, it doesn’t work.

“We weren’t looking to make any changes. Yes there was pressure, and you want to see good, flowing football, and we weren’t seeing that in games.

“But it wasn’t down to a lack of effort, and we’ve had our fair share of injuries.

“We’ve had six players out at one stage, eight players out for one game, and that has a massive impact.

“All these things come to bite you and make things difficult.”

Bosomworth branded some of the comments from Halifax supporters as “unacceptable” and feels the criticism from the stands during Town’s poor run did contribute to the club’s tailspin in form.

“The more pressure that comes from the terraces, the more that transmits into the players,” he said.

“Some go further into their shell or feel disengaged, and you have to try and break that pattern, and they did an excellent job against Chorley.

“Against Salford, you saw an encapsulation of what’s good and what’s bad.

“In the first-half it was horrendous but they gave it their all in the second-half and everybody goes home happy.

“There was a lot of vitriol at Stalybridge and goals change games - we missed two good chances, we hit the post, we miss a penalty and you could see a bit of confidence drain out of the players.

“That was a bad day at the office and we were at a low ebb, but everybody’s dusted themselves down.

“We were still in the mix - you’d have thought we were 10 points adrift at the bottom of the table.

“Sometimes you have to hold your nerve and be patient.”

Bosomworth stressed it has been a collective effort from the club to improve their fortunes, and is relishing the prospect of another vital clash in the race for promotion tomorrow.

“We know people want to watch flowing football and we haven’t had that all of the time,” he said.

“But we’ve set up the Stockport game beautifully and we want The Shay to be rocking on Saturday.

“Apparently they’re going to be bringing 500-750 fans so we’re opening the Skircoat Stand for them.

“We had a great turnout last week and we want it rocking on Saturday.

“I don’t know what some people want - everybody is busting a gut. We all want to win.

“We don’t get carried away when things are going well because I know damn well there’s something round the corner.

“But likewise, you can’t want to commit harikari at the thought of the next game.

“We all want to see loads of goals and entertainment but the players are human beings, they’re not machines.

“They’re doing their best, and that’s all we can ask.

“Billy fully understands how important the fans are.

“I’ve heard comments saying he doesn’t - of course he does.

“We all care what the fans say because they’re the people who put the money in to come across the turnstiles - with no fans you’ve got no team.

“But please understand everybody’s doing their best to get results.”

The Town chairman says social media played a big role in the level of criticism directed at the club from some fans.

“It is a small section of supporters,” he said. “And social media can be fantastic but it can also be very destructive and cruel.

“Some of these people are faceless and it’s a cheap shot.

“People are trying to do their best for the club but parents perhaps don’t want to bring children to games because they don’t want them to hear that stuff.

“We’ve dusted ourselves down, we’ve got three wins in a row and we have to build on it, but not get carried away.

“We have all these cup ties from now until the end of the season, it’s going to be dog eat dog.”

Despite Town’s struggles earlier this season, Bosomworth retains the faith that the club can reach the Football League.

“Our ambitions are high - we’ve always said we want to get this club into the Football League and I believe we can,” he said.

“But when we got relegated we knew how difficult the division would be, and it is.

“There’s a lot of money in this league, and dare I say, there could be more money in this league than there is in the league above.

“The average gates in the south division compared to the north is as different as chalk and cheese.”

Town striker Adam Morgan netted his seventh goal in six games since joining the club from Curzon Ashton.

Bosomworth, who revealed the club would have paid its second highest transfer fee had they signed Dan Bradley, who joined leaders Fylde instead earlier this season, said: “Anybody who scores you goals is a prized commodity.

“Both Billy and I sat down for two hours with Adam at The Shay with his parents.

“It’s a big move for him as well since leaving Liverpool, his life has turned upside down.

“He looks to have got his mojo back, which is credit to Curzon.

“He caught the eye against us and it was good we were able to persuade him to come.”