Despite earning promotion to the football league for the first time in their history, Harrogate Town sought a new manager. They found… me!
We would go onto achieve a record-breaking season, one that would capture the heart of footballing purists throughout the land and include a trip to Wembley!
After a shaky start to the season that included throwing away a three goal lead against Mansfield Town, we cakewalked to the League Two title with a whopping 109 points. We finished a whole 27 points ahead of second placed Cheltenham Town! We scored a mammoth 138 goals in 46 league matches. Scotsman Mark Beck topped the charts with thirty (He also contributed 16 assists) meanwhile strike partner Aaron Martin netted 23 times. Sadly, our relationship would break down and he looks set to leave the club. Youth Academy graduates Marijus Simkis (17 goals) and Euan Wright (6) came to the fore in the latter stages of the campaign and their progress bodes well for our long-term ambitions. On the final day of the 2020-21 campaign, veteran striker Jon Stead signed off with a goal in his final professional game. At the other end, there weren’t as many clean sheets as I would’ve liked (We conceded 53 goals) but centre-back Will Smith excelled. Hopefully he’s not going to Miami… well, for a holiday maybe!
Our League Cup campaign included the giant-killings of Premier League sides Burnley (5-0!), Manchester United, Leeds United and Chelsea. Goalkeeper Marvin Minter was the hero at Old Trafford, saving the decisive penalty from Marcus Rashford.
In the final against Liverpool, we actually went a goal up but missed a penalty before losing 2-1 in extra-time. Young Norwegian Knut-Inge Jensen was the young man who will have to bounce back from penalty heartache. Jack Muldoon also missed an almost open goal in the dying embers of one of the great finals! Still, I think that we’ve qualified for Europe courtesy of our cup run combined with Liverpool’s league position. (Sadly this turned out to not be the case. It must be done on league placings!)
Our best result of the season was a 9-0 thrashing of hapless Grimsby Town in the FA Cup. We also beat fourth place Bolton Wanderers 8-1 to seal the League Two title!
Now it’s onto League One with an eye already on the Premier League. If we want to keep hold of players like Lithuanian Simkus and Scotsman Wright then we can’t afford any slip ups in our quest for a third consecutive promotion!
Disclaimer: Apologies for the glare on the images… new screen! Also, the ability to change a player’s position is a fantastic addition, particularly because when recruiting youth players, it’s not always clear what their position is.