Promotion would be a "phenomenal achievement" says FC Halifax Town chairman Bosomworth

Halifax chairman David Bosomworth says it would be a "phenomenal achievement" if The Shaymen were promoted.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 9:03 am

Town host Chesterfield on Tuesday night (7.45pm) in their play-off eliminator, with the winner away to Solihull in the semi-final next Sunday.

The Shaymen finished fourth in the National League with 84 points, the new club's highest total in the fifth tier, as well as having the best defensive record in the division.

Town's play-off rivals Wrexham, Notts County, Solihull, Grimsby and Chesterfield all boast significantly bigger budgets than Halifax, making their top-seven finish even more impressive, but also meaning they are up against some strong opponents in their bid for promotion.

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David Bosomworth

"If we went up then our fans would have to be the proudest in the league, because it would be a phenomenal achievement," said Bosomworth.

"It's a huge achievement to have reached the play-offs, but if we went up it would be similar to Macclesfield's promotion a few years ago.

"The league was nowhere near as strong then as it is now though.

"If we were to get promotion, that would be an outstanding achievement and you'd have to say that Pete would have to get manager of the year because it would be a real achievement."

FC Halifax Town> photo: Marcus Branston

Reflecting on the season, in which Town finished fourth with 84 points, Bosomworth said: "All credit to the team, we've hit the top spot, we've been around second and third for a lot of the season.

"Sadly just at the end we've been pipped by Solihull who've had an incredible run of form.

"You hope to enjoy every season, otherwise why would you do it. Yes it's hard work but you believe in what you're trying to do.

"Even against the backdrop of the big budgets, we would still like to get the club into the Football League, that remains the objective.

"Hopefully we achieve it this season, but if not then the first game of next season we'll be hell bent on trying again."

When asked if the club would be ready for promotion, Bosomworth was unequivocal.

"Yes. We are geared up for it," he said.

"There are certain things we'd need to do but we'll be as prepared as we can possibly be."

Should Town beat Chesterfield on Tuesday, they would then face Solihull away next Sunday and then either Wrexham, Notts County or Grimsby in the final on Sunday, June 5.

"It's cup football now isn't it, so whatever's happened in the league has been and gone now," Bosomworth said.

"It's about who turns up, who has the luck and if your name's on it, you'll get promoted.

"All the teams in the play-offs are all very well backed financially, all very strong clubs with great pedigree who are all very keen to get into the Football League.

"You've got to get the maximum out of the players, it's cup-tie football and it will be what it will be.

"The hard thing about being the chairman is you have to try and look calm but you're not because you're so involved in it. I never enjoy a game while it's ongoing.

"Just like any fan, if someone misses a chance or misplaces a pass, you feel it just the same as they do.

"Getting to the play-offs just heightens everything because one mistake or one bit of brilliance against you, and it could be over.

"We've got to pray and hope we're still in it come the end of the game on Tuesday.

"Chesterfield will be formidable opposition. It's all to play for.

"It'll be a tough game, they're a good side.

"They've lost their manager and their top-scorer this season, which is enough to derail any team.

"We've had our injuries like everyone else, which is frustrating. When you've got a small squad, it gives a chance for others to come in and make their mark but it does disrupt you.

"We need to be at our best, we need to be at our strongest, and if we can be, we've got as good a chance as anybody of going up."

Halifax should get their biggest attendance of the season at The Shay on Tuesday.

"I desperately hope we get a big, bumper crowd," Bosomworth said.

"We've issued a significant number of tickets to Chesterfield but it would be very nice if our own fans aren't outnumbered by visiting Chesterfield fans.

"I'd like to think people of Halifax will turn out, maybe some who haven't been to The Shay this season will want to come and see a tense, nervy, exciting play-off game."

It will be Pete Wild's second play-off campaign as Halifax manager, with Wild guiding Town to their highest ever finish as a new club, and their highest ever points total in the fifth tier.

"Whenever you appoint a manager there's an element of risk," Bosomworth said.

"The manager is the pinnacle of your football club, you want to get the best you can.

"Pete came with what, 11 games of experience, at Oldham.

"He's inherited some good players, and over the three years we've evolved and he has gone on to change the squad into his mould.

"He's interacted with the under 19s, made sure they're part of the set-up and looked for lads who could join in first-team training.

"We've had a clear strategy about managing the group, including project players who have been discarded by other clubs but that we think we could develop.

"That has been mixed with more established players and senior pros, but within our budget.

"We've finished in our highest league placing as a new club, so that is progress."

Wild's success at Town has inevitably seen him linked with several jobs elsewhere, including the current vacancy at League Two side Barrow.

"It's very rare that managers stay with a club for an extended period - 10, 15 years," Bosomworth said.

"We had Neil Apsin with us for six years, Pete's been with us for three.

"It's provided a good challenge, and as time goes by, you're enhancing your learning curve.

"I have to give credit to Pete that he does a lot of his own work to further his career long-term.

"A manager either gets sacked or they progress up the league.

"Given Pete's track record and the work he's doing himself, you would imagine we will be under pressure at some point and he will move on.

"But I do feel that hopefully, going forward, we can still provide enough of a challenge for him to remain at Halifax, and if we can gain promotion to League Two this time round, that again makes it a bit easier to retain him.

"There has been and there is always going to be pressure when somebody's doing a good job with the club, and I do believe he's doing a very good job with our club."

Bosomworth added: "Pete will be linked with probably every job that comes up going forward now because of the job that he's done.

"I'm sure he'll be able to choose where he wants to go rather than taking the first offer that comes along if and when the time comes.

"I think he will have a clear idea of the type of club and the location of the club he'd want to go to.

"It's always going to be the way but it is a bit weary when you know there's potential for it to happen.

"But if there's something you can't do anything about, you can't worry too much about it.

"You've got to worry about getting the best out of the situation as it stands, making it as comfortable for the manager as possible so he can achieve what he wants to with us, and if other clubs come along and he decides he might want to go, then that's a discussion at that point."