Altrincham FC manager Lee Sinnott will be giving us the inside track on the Robins’ return to the Conference. Here’s his final column of the season for Altrincham Today.
We finished our season down in Essex last Saturday and went down 4-2 at Braintree. We couldn’t defend a fish supper on the day and gave away easy goals, with the two goals conceded early in the second half coming at particularly bad times for us.
We have finished in 17th position in the league and lost our final four games of the campaign… I think that’s our worst run in the four years since Neil Tolson and I came to Altrincham.
In those final four games and particularly at Braintree, we have shown the effects of a hard gruelling season and seem to have almost regressed to where we were in the first 10 games last August and September.
But I really want to thank the fans who travelled in numbers down there – they gave the players a wonderful send-off at the end of the game, which was great to see, considering the efforts that the team have made throughout this season.
Looking back, achieving mathematical safety on Good Friday, with a win against Southport, seems to have triggered mental fatigue, as soon as the goal of achieving survival was met.
Below: James Lawrie volleys the ball against Forest Green Rovers back in February
On Monday, we announced our retained list, with 12 players being kept on for the 2015/16 campaign and five players released.
Work has been on-going in terms of planning for next season for two to three months and we can now start the job of building the squad from the remaining 12, so that we are in good shape come the opening game of the season on August 8th.
We will be more of a known factor by the opposition next season and we now know a lot more about this league, particularly in terms of managing the high level of travel that we have to do and the impact that has on training schedules.
Despite our poor finish, I maintain that we would all have taken this outcome at the start of the season. In our first season at the club, we were turning the ship around, following relegation to Conference North, but in each of the last three seasons, we have achieved momentum and we carry that with us into our second year back in the Vanarama Conference.
Below: Tom Marshall clears the ball against Halifax in March
We started and finished poorly, but if you look at what we achieved in the 30 games that constituted the bulk of the season, we did very well, both in terms of performances and results.
Things have been quite intense at Altrincham Football Club, both on and off the field, for three years now and perhaps everybody involved needs a bit of a rest.
With no play-offs to get through, the players will get an eight-week break and those extra couple of weeks will make them that bit more eager to return for pre-season training towards the end of June.
Finally, as this is my last column for this season, thanks to all of our supporters, home and away, you have been superb.
I know that we have probably had most of you pulling your hair out at times, but hopefully the players have excited you and that you have felt proud, more often than not, of their performances and results.
See you in August.
Photos: Michael Ripley