UCLD1; Olney boss pays tribute to club ahead of final home game

Saturday 14th April 2018

Olney Town v Blackstones

United Counties League Division One

East Street

K.O. 3.00pm

Olney Town host top four side Blackstones on Saturday, in what is guaranteed to be an emotional day for the committee of Olney Town FC, who have declared their intention to stand down at the end of the current season, and the game marks the end of The Nurserymen’s home campaign for 2017/18. It’s been a difficult season at times for Neil Griffith’s men, and a final home win would be fitting for all concerned. Olney have lost just once in their last nine games, but face in form Blackstones who haven’t tasted defeat in eight games in all competition.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with the manager, and asked how it feels going into the last home fixture of the season:

They’ll be mixed emotions given the recent news and uncertain future. On a purely footballing side we are determined to carry on our good form and finish the campaign as strong as we can. However, it will no doubt be a highly emotional day with it being our committee’s final game at East Street. We have to make sure it ends positively for them more than anything else

Olney manager Neil Griffiths

We asked if there were any stand out moments from this season at East Street:

It’s been a real rollercoaster of a season for us. There is no hiding from the fact we haven’t finished where we wanted to, however to some extent I’m prouder of these players this year more than most. We’ve had some real tough times and there is a core that have stuck at it, and never thrown the towel in. This has meant we can still finish the season well, with only one defeat in our last nine games, which considering the season we’ve had is exceptional. I think stand out moment would have to be when I was on a stag do in Amsterdam, we were in a club and I was shouting as loud as I could as Drew Mitten scored a last minute winner away at Pinchbeck. I was swiftly told to be quiet and put my phone away

What does Neil expect from their guests?

They like us have finished the season strongly and certainly are not letting their season just drift away. They will be hungry to beat us, I think a strong indication of how serious they are was to see their management team at our game at Oakham last weekend. As always we will need to be at our best, as mentioned before it will be an emotional day, and it’s not just about three points but making sure we do our part in what is our committee’s last game at East Street

Olney held their player awards night last week, who won what?

We decided to hold the event early this year to give the players as long a summer as possible. Kevin Owusu picked up the clubs award of young player of the season. First team top goal scorer was Drew Mitten, managers player of the season went to Christian Smail, with Jack Taylor winning player’s player of the season. Our reserves saw Micky O’Farrell take top goal scorer with Michael Owens taking both managers player & player’s player of the season

Christian Smail

Finally, we asked Neil for his final thoughts on the committee at the club:

The work Toughy, Malcolm, Andrew & Mick have done is nothing short of exceptional. There may have been some recent struggles to take the ground to the next level but I don’t think it should be forgotten how far this committee has taken the ground from where it was, to where it is today. There is so much that goes into the running of a football club, to allow twenty-two players just to have a game. It is a thankless task at times and is far too often taken for granted. I whole heartedly wish them all the best and hope they fully enjoy their spare time, as it has all be very well earned

Sports Shots would like to thank Neil for his time this week.

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