‘We did what the club wanted’ – Bootle manager Brian Richardson sets sights after 2021-22 Northern Premier League campaign

Bootle players celebrate their winning goal against Marine

Bootle manager Brian Richardson believes the Bucks had a good season after taking over during the 2021-22 season.

The veteran boss took over Bootle following the exit of long-seving manager Joe Doran at the Berry Street Garage following a difficult start.

But for the former Prescott Cables boss it didn’t take long for him to leave his mark on the side as they rose up the league.

Bootle managed a number of impressive results including their league double over the promoted Marine which saw them fire their way into playoff contention.

However, a mini-blip towards the end of the season extinguished any hope of sneaking into the playoffs.

Reflecting on their campaign, Richardson told Off The Park: “I think generally a good season, we made a good start. I think we showed towards the end a bit of spirit with some difficult games and picked up seven points out of nine.

“We did what the club wanted in terms of not going down and getting off the bottom. I think we raised the bar a little bit too early where I think people expected more and expected to get into the playoffs and I think we just came up a little bit short.

“The start of the season and the five matches when we didn’t win probably set us back but you know, it’s to be expected now. A lot of lads haven’t played at this level for a number of years and I think confidence was a bit brittle when we lost the five games so it was nice to climb off the ropes and have a good finish. 

“It’s exceeded what I thought I was getting into. I think when you go to anywhere and they’re in a poor position, you tend to think there’s not enough talent in the dressing room and you’ll have to make a lot of changes but to be fair, the players proved that wasn’t the right assumption.  I suppose the next task of ours is to see how much change we have to make again to be able to finish higher than we did last season. 

“I often think when a teams in the ascendancy, at every level, you will find that they can compete with the big sides and come unstuck against some of the sides who are not as high up the league.

“Glossop beat us twice, Kidsgrove came to our gaff and won, we probably got as many defeats to teams in the bottom half of the table as we have in the top half so I would say that is work in progress because I think teams are raising their levels for the bigger games but not doing as much for the teams people expect them to have wins against.

“When you look at football that tends to happen at every level, that does come down to mental toughness, concentration and bringing your A-game to the table every game and a little bit of overconfidence thinking we’ve gone better against other sides so we’re going to automatically knock off the teams who are below us. That’s where you come unstuck and where you have to be more mature when they start looking at their own performances.”

*Interview conducted in May.

[Featured image: Will Griffiths]

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