‘We had to show character’ – Bootle defender James McCarten makes truthful reflection on season

Bootle FC defender James McCarten walks out prior to their match versus Marine.

Bootle defender James McCarten says their first season in the Northern Premier League was a success after their difficult start.

The Bucks endured a slow beginning to the campaign as they picked up just one win prior to Joe Doran’s departure. As a result, Brian Richardson departed his position as FC United of Manchester assistant manager to take charge.

Following his appointment, Bootle rose up the league and established themselves as outsiders to be in the playoffs ahead of the conclusion of the campaign.

McCarten told Off The Park: “Early on when we started off we had a bad start, at that point to finish where we finished it can only be looked at as a success but to come so close to the playoffs with 10 games to go within a shout and then fell away towards the end so that was a bit of a negative.

“Overall, first season in the league you’d have to say it was a success. 

“We were struggling (when Joe Doran left) but to be fair we lost games which we should never have lost. I don’t think we were ever going to be in any danger of relegation or being down there, I think we always knew deep down in our minds we were good enough to have a good go in the league.”

The Bucks were rewarded, as part of the pyramid restructure, a place in the Northern Premier League West, after years of vying for promotion from the North West Counties.

Despite missing out on the playoffs, fans were left floored by two standout performances against Marine as Bootle managed a domestic double.

McCarten added: “The best moment for me was the Marine game, 3-0 away and the home game when we had 10-men for the majority of the game.

“Both Marine were the best wins of the season, looking back they’ve gone up and if we can beat them home and away, it shows we shouldn’t be too far off. They were my two highlights. 

“We had to show character because we had a bad start so it’s time to roll your sleeves up when it’s like that. I think looking at the form table after the first six or seven games we must’ve been up there.”

*Interview conducted in May.

[Featured image: Paul Moran]

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