SKEGNESS United joint manager Mark Hallam has spoken of his pride after the newly-reformed club ended 2011 in second place in their first season for more than 70 years.
The club had been a distant memory after it folded in 1939 following the outbreak of World War Two. But since announcing their plans to reform the club, Mark and club chairman Geoff Farrar have enjoyed spectacular progress.
Reflecting on a rollercoaster first season, Mark said: “We are delighted to be in the position we are currently in and are very thankful to the people from Skegness and further afield who have shown great support in getting behind us.
“With the people of Skegness behind us we believe we can make 2012 potentially a very exciting year.
“It seems a long time ago since our opening fixture away at Swineshead Institute on August 8, where we arrived with a depleted side and left with only a point after a disappointing 0-0 draw.
“The game could have finished 6-4 in all honesty, but it certainly gave us an insight into what to expect in this league.
“Having been involved in the Lincolnshire League for almost 20 years I think we have chosen a tough season to make our debut, as the standard is as strong, if not stronger than I have ever seen it.
“The squad we have assembled have bought into what we want to achieve as a club, not just now, but next season and the season after that and it’s a credit to them all.
“There are some other excellent teams in this league without a playing budget such as Boston Utd Reserves, Nettleham and Grimsby Borough Reserves who have made the standard really high and made this Championship an incredibly difficult one to win.
“Without a doubt though if we were told at the start of the season we would be second as we entered the New Year with five games in hand and 16 points behind and two mouthwatering ties to play against the league leaders, we would have been delighted, and we are.
“We know based on the games where we have dropped points, we could and should be in a better position right now, but the beautiful game is not straightforward and we are just happy that it’s still all in our hands.”
Mark added that his biggest disappointment of the season had been the club’s performance away at Grimsby Borough Reserves where an under-strength United lost an official match for the first time following a “below par” performance.
His most memorable moment of the year was the game just seven days earlier when they took on rivals Skegness Town in the first Skegness derby for 70 years.
United won the match 2-1 following a 25-yard goal from John Courtney three minutes from time.
“The roar from the large majority of the 500+ crowd was incredible,” he said. “To see grown men and women dancing around and swinging our red and black scarves above their heads was a moment we will savour.
“When you take into account that was only the club’s second official game and we generated that much support, it has been a big inspiration for us as a football club to push on with our plans.”
Mark added that United had developed a “winning mentality” as the season moved on and that there was real confidence in the squad.
United return to action on Saturday, when they entertain Pinchbeck United in a 1.30pm kick-off.