FC Halifax Town: Our togetherness has been key, says skipper Brown
Town skipper Matty Brown says the togetherness in the squad has been pivotal in guiding the club to the brink of safety.
Mathematically, The Shaymen can still be caught, as they are nine points above the relegation zone in the National League with five games remaining, while Barrow in 21st place have six matches to go.
But realistically, Town are unlikely to be caught and should now be safe. Asked whether he thought safety had been achieved with the win over Boreham Wood on Saturday, Brown said: “I think so, but with what happened last time I don’t want to be too optimistic.
“I think it is job done. We’re nine points clear, although Barrow have a game in hand.
“We can play with a little less fear now, and I’m sure we’ll pick more points up in the last five games.
“Now it looks like we’re safe let’s try and upset a few people along the way.”
Brown celebrated Saturday’s win with a characteristically passionate fist-clenched reaction in-front of the South Stand after the final whistle.
When asked how much it meant to him for the club to stay up, Brown said: “It’s massive. The club means a lot to me, even though I’m not from the area.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here, and I’ve probably played my best football here.
“I feel settled, I feel at home at the club, I really enjoy it here.
“I take it seriously. Besides Everton I think Halifax is my second team now!
“I’ve been through a rollercoaster ride personally with my own battles, and then with the club.
“Staying in this league is a goal reached. It was our main objective to stay in this league, and then we’ll look to kick on again.
“It’s been topsy-turvy. We got off to a flier, then dipped, but in the business end of the season we’ve shown what we’re about and got the results when required.”
Town were on the brink of dropping into the bottom four a couple of months ago, around the time of manager Billy Heath’s departure.
Asked if there were times he thought Town would be relegated, Brown replied:
“I’m human like the fans and when we got beat against Leyton Orient (on Janury 30), that one sticks in my mind.
“That was a six-pointer, they were in a similar position to us, and that was a dark night.
“Obviously Billy (Heath) lost his job after that result and you do fear the worst, you think ‘we can’t let it happen again’.
“But you have to give great credit to the lads in the dressing room. Jamie has put his stamp on things but we’ve had our own private team meetings and the big characters have grabbed people by the scruff of the neck and marched them through games at times.
“We’ve wanted to stay up for our own personal pride, but we’ve always had enough quality to do it. It’s about personality and appetite and I think the fans are starting to appreciate that now.
“We’re playing good football at times but it’s that togetherness. It saw us over the line last year and when the results have been needed, we’ve stepped up to the mark and got them.”
Brown credited the older heads in the Town squad for their role in guiding the club away from danger.
He added: “Michael Collins is a great influence in the dressing room. Besides him I’m probably the most experienced.
“He’s great to have in-front of you, he dictates the play. We’re always talking and bossing people about on and off the pitch.
“Ben Tomlinson is another massive character. He didn’t play that much under Billy but he’s come in under the new manager and he’s been different class, he works his socks off for the team and he’s horrible to play against.”