FC Halifax Town: We've earned our big chance, says Carroll

Football - FC Halifax Town v Accrington Stanley. Mark CarrollFootball - FC Halifax Town v Accrington Stanley. Mark Carroll
Football - FC Halifax Town v Accrington Stanley. Mark Carroll
Town's assistant boss Mark Carroll says he and Billy Heath have earned their chance at Halifax after 15 years together in management,

The duo were in the same youth team at Hull City and been working together since 2001.

They started off at Bridlington Town and got three promotions in four seasons, then had four-and-a-half years at Frickley and then a brief spell at Hall Road FC before going to North Ferriby.

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Carroll says their success at Ferriby put them in the shop window and believes that resume means they are well qualified to take charge at The Shay.

“We’re coming into the job with our eyes wide open but we feel after 15 seasons now we’ve earned the right to be at a club like this,” he said.

“It’s not something that we’ve been given after a year - we’ve done the hard yards and been in charge of over 800 non-league games.

“I think we’re ready for the task and we’re looking forward to it.

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“You visit these sorts of clubs when you’re at the Ferriby’s of this world and always wonder what it’d be like to be involved with them and we’ve been given a great opportunity.

“It’s one we’re looking to take with both hands and hopefully we can take the club to where they want to be.”

The friendship between Heath and Carroll stretches all the way back to their school days.

“I used to play against Billy regularly for school teams and Sunday League teams when we were growing up and he used to batter me every week!

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“He was best man at my first wedding and we’ve always been best mates.

“It works well because I don’t want his job, I’m not interested in being a manager so he doesn’t have to worry about that.

“Also when you’re friends you can tell each other what you think rather than being a yes man.”

On the dynamic between the pair, Carroll said: “Obviously Bill’s the bad cop! I don’t think I’ve got the stature to be the bad cop.

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“We bounce off each other. I’d never contradict him behind his back to the players.

“We’re both looking for the same things from the players - but we might take a slightly different approach getting there.

“But it’s worked so far and long may that continue.

“We’re always having slight differences of opinion but I realise my role and I never cross the line.

“Sometimes Bill will go with what I say or sometimes he’ll go with what he thinks and that’ll work out.

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“We don’t fall out but if he feels I haven’t put a good session on and the lads haven’t got anything out of it, he’ll tell me and I’ll take it on the chin.”

Carroll feels the never-say-die spirit that epitomised their North Ferriby side was crucial to their success, and would like to replicate that at Halifax.

“It’s about attitude and character,” he said.

“A lot of the players at this level have got the same ability, it’s the ones who want to go that extra yard that make the difference.

“You look back at last season and we were 2-0 down with 10 minutes to go at Chorley, the pitch was virtually waterlogged and we came back to 2-2 in the 89th minute.

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“Did we settle for 2-2? No, we got the winner in the 95th minute.

“That’s the type of attitude certain players don’t have, but if you have that as a group, that’ll win you leagues because the difference might be a point here or a point there.

“But the points you gain when a lot of teams would give up and the white flags would come out end up getting you what you deserve.

“Football’s not rocket science - at the end of the day it’s 11 versus 11.

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“If we’re prepared to work hard for each other and we believe in ourselves, I think you’ll see good things.

“I’m not saying we’ve just got a team of grafters - there’s a lot of quality in the squad - but you’ve sometimes got to put the hard work in to earn the right to play.”

Carroll believes Halifax’s squad is as good as any in the division, but insists ability alone won’t be enough for a successful campaign.

He added: “The most important people at football clubs are the players.

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“You’ve got to do your due diligence when signing them because those players have to cross that white line and put into practice what we want them to do.

“We were very fortunate that we had a fantastic group of players (at North Ferriby) who, from one to 18 all wanted to win and were all in it for the right reasons.

“This is what we’re trying to get with Halifax because it’s about the team, it’s not about the first 11.

“Your team spirit is created by your players that aren’t in the team and we’ve got to get across to them that the most important thing is the team.

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“If we can do that - they’ve all got ability or else they wouldn’t be here - then you can achieve good things.

“That is what we’ve won everything on, just a fantastic work ethic and a fantastic team spirit.

“The minimum we expect from them is they put a shift in and work hard, and to be fair to them, they’re all willing to push in the same direction.”