If anyone knows the ups and downs of life at FC Halifax Town, it’s Scott McManus.
The defender has experienced the lot in his time at The Shay, including promotions, relegations, cup runs and injuries, but is hoping a more settled spell now lies in store.
McManus is the club’s longest-serving player, having joined from FC United in May 2011 and signed a two-year contract to stay at the club before memorably scoring the winner in the 2016 FA Trophy final at Wembley and then sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in the same game.
That injury kept him out of action for nearly a year before he returned to the first-team at the tail-end of the previous campaign.
When asked if he now felt 100 per cent fit, the defender said: “I’d say so now. I got myself back as fit as I could but you can only get yourself match-fit by playing games, and after playing a few consecutively now I’m feeling better each time.
“I think I went from hating football to liking it again in the last few weeks!
“It’s one of those things. Football’s football, it can be cruel at times and it can be really nice. Hopefully it can keep being nice for a bit now.”
McManus joined Town shortly before he was given a 16-week sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to assault, with the court case hanging over his head when he joined The Shaymen.
That was the start of his tumultuous time at the club, but McManus feels there are more highs than lows to reflect on.
“I’d say there’s been more ups than downs. The one big down was obviously getting relegated two seasons ago, but I’ve had a great time and that’s why I’ve not left the club.
“They pay me, they feed my kids and my missus so I can’t ask for much more!
“They gave me a chance when most other clubs wouldn’t have done eight years ago so I owe it to them.”
McManus is hugely encouraged by Town’s first 10 games of the season.
“I think we’ve had a really good start,” he said. “Maybe we weren’t playing the best football at the start of the season but we’ve played a lot better in the last few games.
“I’ve been starting more games recently which has made the difference!
“Seriously though, we’ve had a lot of new players so it takes time for them to gel. But hopefully that’s happened now and we can kick on.
“We’ve got a good defensive record so far, which speaks volumes. If we can build from the back, keep clean sheets and nick games, that’s what we’ll do.”
The Shaymen are second in the National League 10 games in, and McManus isn’t ruling out a repeat of the club’s play-off finish under Neil Aspin back in 2014.
“We’ve done it before as a club so why not again?” he said.
“Hopefully we’ve not peaked too early and we can keep it going, pick up some results away from home and keep getting three points at the Shay, who knows what we can do?
“ We’ve got two good wingers this season, and we had Adam Smith last time we came up who used to cause every left-back problems.
“Obviously we had a goal machine in Lee Gregory who scored in nearly every game. But Tom Denton is doing more than scoring goals, he’s holding play up, linking, flicking balls on and defending.”