McClurg: Now we can look to next seasonBy Adam Lee
April 14, 2011
Bracknell Town will be playing Hellenic Premier Division football next season after results went their way on Tuesday night.
The cloud of a second straight relegation has hung ominously over Larges Lane for much of the campaign, but in the last few weeks results have picked up and their fate was finally secured on Tuesday.
Despite losing 3-1 to title-chasing Wantage, Bracknell avoided relegation thanks to rivals Carterton only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Thame United.
Bracknell are now 10 points clear of fourth-from-bottom Carterton with three games left to play, meaning they are safe for another season.
It is a massive achievement for Bracknell, who have been in freefall for a number of years and saw this campaign as an opportunity to consolidate.
Having appointed Steve McClurg and Richard Whitty as joint managers, the Robins made a decent start to the campaign.
However, results soon started to go against them and the threat of another relegation became a reality.
They lost influential attackers Sam Whiting and Dean Thomas to Reading Town and Wokingham & Emmbrook respectively, but Bracknell managed to keep their points tally gradually ticking over.
However, McClurg insists he was not particularly relieved to avoid relegation in the manner that his side did.
He believes they deserved more from Tuesday’s game against Wantage, but still paid tribute to his players for their efforts throughout the season.
“It’s not really a relief because I was disappointed with the result,” he said.
“We were 1-0 up, they were down to 10 men after having their goalkeeper sent off then we went on to lose 3-1.
“Overall we played well, we worked hard and played as team, but the penalty they got was a little bit dodgy and the referee wasn’t particularly good for either team.
“My squad of players have put in a lot of hard work and I can’t say a lot more than that.
“We’ve had a bumpy ride, it’s been tough at times but I always enjoy being involved in football.
“We have had a lot of good players come through and even had three of four come through from the youth set up, which is a credit to the youth team manager Steve Jenner.
“The results would suggest that we have got stronger over the season, but it’s been a big learning curve for some of the players and hopefully we will strengthen next season and have a bigger and better squad.”
Bracknell managed some fantastic results against leaders Ardley United and title challengers Binfield, while they also did the double against high-flying Kidlington.
But despite those wins, McClurg never believed his side automatically deserved to avoid relegation.
In fact, it wasn’t until last Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Witney United, followed by a 2-1 win away at Shrivenham, that McClurg finally believed his side had done enough.
And as long as the club committee are happy for him and co-boss Whitty to stay, he insists he will be going nowhere.
“We never ever thought that we were too good to go down,” said McClurg.
“We always treat every game the same, but at the end of the day the table tells the truth – we have let in a lot of goals and we’re not happy with that.
“The points at the weekend were massive for us.
“We knew we had to get points on the board. We didn’t play fantastically well at Shrivenham but we got three points and to be honest we thought that would be enough to avoid relegation.
“I would imagine we’ll stay – as long as the club wants us we’ll stay, but nothing has been talked about yet.”
The Robins have three games left this season, starting with the visit of Old Woodstock Town on Saturday (3pm kick-off).