FC Halifax Town: Relegation still haunts new Town skipper Brown
Town skipper Matty Brown is determined there will be no repeat of the club's relegation from the Conference National last year.
Brown is one of five players still at the club that were part of the squad relegated into the Conference North in 2016 and recovered from an injury-hit season to help them back into the fifth tier last term.
But that relegation still rankles with Brown, who has taken over as Billy Heath’s captain following Kevin Roberts’ departure to Wrexham, and the centre-back is adamant there will be no repeat this time round.
“That will be a motivating factor for the rest of my career,” he said. “As a player I take a lot of shame in getting relegated, it’s not something you want on your CV.
“It’s embarrassing and I take that personally. I didn’t start that season the way I wanted to at all - we didn’t as a squad.
“I want to make sure that never happens again.
“When we got relegated that was a new team, and it’s always hard with a new team. Even though we had good players, on paper it was a very good Conference squad, but this squad has mainly been together a year now.
“We’ve won promotion together, we’re close friends and that helps a lot. We will dig in the trenches together and I’m expecting good things this year.
“We can mix it with teams and I think once we get settled in we’ll be a real force.”
When asked how much the division has changed since Town were last in it, Brown said: “Massively. You look at the calibre of clubs in the league now, and even the league below, there are big clubs everywhere.
“It’s getting stronger and stronger. The Conference isn’t the way it used to be. There’s not much in it between League Two and the Conference.
“But we can compete - we want to do well, and we’re all driven lads.
“Physically we can boss teams. We’ve got ability throughout the squad and even in the stands so I know we can change games.
“After six or seven games the team will start to settle down and I’m sure we can pick up a few points.”
Brown was delighted to be named as club captain and is hoping to repay Heath’s decision with an injury-free season.
“It’s an honour,” Brown said. “This is my third season here now and I haven’t played as many games as I’d have liked to.
“But I feel in god condition and I’m ready to have a good season.
“It’s a great club, I love being here. We’ve lost Robbo but I’m looking forward to taking on the responsibility because it’s a great group of lads to be captain of.
“I was a little surprised (to be named captain) because last season, in terms of game time, I think I only played 10 or 11 games.
“But the gaffer likes good characters around the place and even when I wasn’t playing I was always at the games with the lads, cheering them on.
“Things like that rub off and we’ve got a great team spirit here.
“The gaffer’s shown faith in me and I’m honoured.”
Halifax got off the mark for the season on Tuesday with a 0-0 draw at Barrow, which Brown feels will give the squad a lift going into Saturday’s trip to Chester.
He added: “The first game (against Aldershot) was very tough. In the five seasons I’ve played Conference football, they’re the toughest opposition I’ve faced. I thought they passed it really well.
“I think if you play them on a cold night in January it’s a different result. But they were a great side and I don’t think we’ll face many tougher this season.
“A few of the lads who haven’t played at this level before might have been struggling for a bit of confidence or reassurance that they could play at this level, so I think Tuesday night will give them a great boost.
“Game by game we’re going to get confidence and I think Barrow will be good for that knowing we can compete against good Conference National teams.”