FC Halifax Town: We're heading in the right direction, says skipper Brown

Matty Brown
Matty Brown

Town captain Matty Brown believes the club is going in the right direction heading into next season.

Halifax finished 16th in the National League - the same position as the previous campaign - in their first full season under manager Jamie Fullarton.

It was also the club's first campaign after adopting a hybrid version of full-time, which saw the squad training three mornings a week rather than two nights a week.

"There's definitely been ups and downs, as there is with anyone," reflected Brown on the season. "It's not going to happen overnight.

"I know the fans and us as players would love for that to happen and just go, bang, promoted to the Football League.

"But you've got to be realistic and it will take time. I'm not saying it's going to take years and years, because the infrastructure we've got and how much more professional we are, it's going in the right direction.

"On the pitch there's been a progression, but the biggest progression has been off the pitch.

"We've gone more professional in every way. For a start we've got more contact time, we're in training more, there's more structure, rather than just turning up Tuesday and Thursday nights.

"No disrespect to that - it's a part-time mentality - but there's a lot more focus on opposition and the week's structured in terms of who you're playing against.

"I think just generally as well, it ups everyone's levels, you're not tired from work all day.

"The whole mentality of the club has gone that way. Yeah, we've still got loads of room for improvement and progression, but for someone who's been at the club when we weren't this way, I can see a big difference.

"I love being here and it's a pleasure to be part of it. Hopefully we can be a project. We're not just settling to be a Conference team, because the club's got everything to get back into the league. That's where it should be.

"Things can take time but we're going in the right direction and I think next year's going to be a good year for us."

Brown feels he's probably had his best season so far for The Shaymen after a consistently high level of performance during his 47 appearances.

"I thought I did OK last season, and I think we've gone up a level again," said Brown, who joined the club in the summer of 2015.

"Obviously you look at things you can improve on individually, but as long as we're going in the right direction, and I think as a unit, we've been pretty solid and consistent this year.

"When we weren't doing so well going the other way, it was important that we dug in.

"The likes of me, Sam, Clarkey, Niall (Maher), Bez (James Berrett) when he came back in, just being rigid.

"Those 0-0's - I understand the fans moaning - but those draws we were getting when people were getting frustrated, they were good points, because it was only a matter of time before it clicked going the other way.

"I know it happened a lot later than we'd have liked, but the goals did come.

"The way we've finished, you'd fancy us, the form we're in, to go and beat anyone in the play-offs.

"I know over the season we haven't really deserved it, but going forward to next season, there's plenty of good signs there.

"I'm sure if we get people signed up and look to progress, next season we've got to be aiming for those play-offs. Simple as."

Brown was also full of praise for his central defensive partner Nathan Clarke, who played every minute of every league game for Halifax last season.

"Hats off to him. I've said plenty of times this season how good he's been for me personally, never mind the team," Brown added.

"He's a better guy than he is a player, and that's a big testament to him. Him and Skarzy (Joe Skarz) are probably the nicest lads I've ever come across, great characters to have in the dressing room.

"Clarkey's always someone I can go to for advice because he's been there and done it. I've got a lot of respect for him.

"On the pitch he's been outstanding all season and thoroughly deserved with Sam (Johnson) to pick his awards up.

"At 35, nearly 36, it's different class. At 19 it's great to play every minute of every game, but I can't complement him enough, he's been brilliant on the pitch - great for the lads - and he's a local lad, and he's a good mate more than anything.

"He's had a great season."