Photos - Jordan Connolly - @Life Through A Lens NI

Bangor assistant boss John Douglas has urged the supporters to wrap around the players for the last scheduled match at Clandeboye Park in the 2023/24 Playr-Fit Championship season.

The Seasiders are bidding to bounce back off the ropes following three successive defeats on Saturday when they entertain Harland and Wolff Welders and, ahead of kick-off, Douglas has rallied everyone associated with the club to do themselves proud and those on the pitch to reproduce the commitment and passion that has encapsulated this second-tier campaign.

As he approaches four full years in the role working alongside first-team manager Lee Feeney, Douglas has hailed the spirit shown throughout a club where “we’re all in this together” and pointed out just how determined the players are to deliver for the fans.

He believes the family feel around Bangor and the desire on the part of the players to do their people proud inspire a bright future going forward and insists that in the push for a promotion play-off place – an overachievement in its own right compared to expectations from the start of this term – those on the pitch will thrive with the faithful backing them up.

“The supporters at this football club are special. The backing we’ve had from the start of the season and in seasons before has been absolutely second to none.

“There’s a connection between the players and supporters and everyone around the club that I genuinely believe very few other clubs have, and that’s absolutely drove us on.

“Coming into this season, and to be in the position that we are where we realistically are fighting for promotion and in and around second, third, fourth, we’ve overperformed to be in the position that we are, and the supporters have been with us every step of the way and that’s been reflected by the crowds we’ve got at games right from the start of the season.

“The players have personal relationships with the supporters, and I guarantee you after Tuesday night that no one was more hurting than the players because they’ll have felt they’ve let the supporters down.

“The players are motivated by the supporters, they’re motivated and determined to do the supporters proud and that’s what they’re driven by.

“And that’s exactly what’s happened. I think that’s been reflected in attendance, the players I think have made the supporters proud of their football club and the supporters appreciate that, they clap them off every game, home or away.

“It’s a whole team effort – and I include the supporters in that, they have every part to play, and the players have fed off their backing

“We’re all in this together – from the players, the fans, the board, the people in the social club, it’s a full team effort, everyone around the club has their part to play.”

John Douglas

Douglas, a former Bangor player who has been in the Clandeboye dugout since the summer of 2020, adds that the progress made by the club and consistent school of learning will set them up to savour more memorable moments going forward.

The good has considerably outweighed the bad this season, and the Belfast man is optimistic that the best is yet to come – whether it be in 2023/24 or looking further afield.

Douglas stated:

“If we get into the play-off and we’re fighting for a chance to achieve promotion into the Premier League, great; if we don’t, we’ll regroup at the end of the season and we’ll set about building up to try and win the league because I believe that’s where we’re at.

“When we’re done after the last game of the season and we’re reflecting on the season as a whole, whatever happens in the last few games, I believe Bangor Football Club is a club that is headed firmly in the right direction. That’s my honest opinion.

“One poor performance won’t define our season, and when we’re looking back, we’ll look at this season as a learning experience and I guarantee you that our players looking back at this season will have been proud of their efforts.

“It’s an honest belief of mine in football, you win or you learn. We’re all learning; for many of our players, they’ve never played at this level before, and for us as a coaching staff, this is also the first team we’ve managed together at this level. We’ve had tough days, but we’re learning with every game, and I believe the experiences of this season will stand every single player in that dressing room in good stead going forward.

“It’s our last home game of the season – well, hopefully not, we still want to be in that play-off and we’ll work towards trying to get there – but it’s our last home game in the league for us and I know, there’s no doubt in my mind, the players will be absolutely determined to put things right and do the supporters proud on Saturday.”

John Douglas

by Lewis Bennett (Posted: Wednesday, 3rd April 2024)