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|MANAGER APOLOGISES TO FANS
Gary Mills, manager of Nationwide North club Alfreton Town, this week explained why he felt it was necessary to apologise to the travelling fans at the end of the game at Vauxhall Motors last Saturday.
The Reds boss, along with his players, has come in for plenty of criticism in the aftermath of what has been described as ‘the worst 45 minutes’ of the season in which Alfreton found themselves two goals down inside the first 6 minutes and three behind at half-time in what was essentially a relegation battle.
Mills went over to the Reds fans at the final whistle to apologise to them for what he felt was “an unacceptably poor display”.
The Reds boss said this week: “I think it was necessary because the first half performance wasn’t acceptable.
“We are not in a nice position and that is for a reason. You have to be big and strong to get out of it and some players were not on the front foot last Saturday.
“A lot of the players have since been questioned about their desire and passion.
“I am the manager, and ultimately, when things are going wrong it falls on my shoulders when the fans are expressing their views at the end of the game - and rightly so. As manager I felt it right to give them an apology.
“I always wear my heart on my sleeve and say it as it is. The apology came from the heart. When I am getting abused personally as a football manager when things happen like Saturday it hurts, but I am big enough to accept it and go across to the fans and say sorry.
“It has cost the fans money to go up there and support their team - and they deserved better than they got.
“However, whilst not defending the players, last Saturday’s game doesn’t tell the
picture of the whole season. We haven’t been like it all season.
“I have praised my players for games we have drawn and sometimes even for games we have lost if I thought their performance merited it.
“I would like to feel that it was a one off but players are players, and if they don’t perform they can’t expect to be in the team the following week.
“Sometimes your hands are tied by situations, but my job now is to pick the correct team to win this Saturday’s home game against Hednesford Town.”
The 3-1 defeat was the Reds' heaviest away defeat in the league this season as Vauxhall became the first team to record the 'double' over Alfreton during the campaign.
Mills (pictured) will have his injury-hit squad bolstered by new signing Paul Smith. The former Sheffield Wednesday winger joined on Tuesday evening of this week.
He becomes the second new face into the Impact Arena in the past week following striker Michael Rankine, who marked his debut at Vauxhall Motors with a goal.
Smith and Rankine, plus on loan striker Rob Norris all link up with the squad for this Saturday’s crucial home game against second from bottom visitors Hednesford Town.
The Reds saw Tuesday evening’s Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter final at Belper Town postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The tie has been rearranged for next Tuesday, January 17th with the winners away at Ilkeston Town on the 24th in the semi-finals.
Hannah Dingley, 22, has been appointed as the club’s new Football in the Community development officer.
Originally from just outside Carmarthen in South Wales, she is now based in Loughborough having graduated from the University in 2004 in Sport and Exercise Science.
Hannah also has a BTec in football studies.
She commented: “I aim to improve the profile of the club within the local community and develop the quality of provision for local youngsters.
“I also intend setting up soccer schools, after school clubs and getting youngsters involved on match days.”
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