Mark Shaw knows that Worksop Town have ‘come up short’ this season, but he wants people to judge them with all the facts in mind.
The boss believes they punched above their weight last season, when they finished second in the table.
And having taken a lot of criticism about a five-game winless streak and the end of the club’s title challenge, Shaw still thinks a talent exodus has cost Tigers.
“Everyone is entitled to an opinion and people look for who is to blame,” he said.
“There are a lot of reasons why we’ve not won games.
“I’m partially open to the critcism, but people have got to take on board what we’ve had to deal with.
“We’ve lost quite a few players to higher levels, a big core, that’s one reason.
“We’re tried to replace players with people who haven’t been as good and it hasn’t quite worked out.
“When a player goes from here into the Conference North, you can’t replace him with another Conference North player – I’ve got these players to come and play who should be playing higher up.
“It’s difficult for me to go and find another one.”
Shaw maintains that Worksop are not in a position to compete with the spending power of other teams in the division, but he can understand fans’ disappointment.
“Last year we probably over achieved and expectations, including mine, were high this year,” he said.
“We want to compete, we set off alright and then lost our way.
“We’re still in fourth place and we don’t know what might happen between now and the end of the season.
“We haven’t lit it up like last year, I’ll always try and make us competitive, but we’ve come up short.
“We’re still competing in one of the hardest leagues, we’re probably in the top half of the league for budgets.
“It’s been disappointing, we’ve run out of steam after Christmas and the criticism has probably come out of frustration.
“I’ve been frustrated, but we all need to come together as a club and community and try to get things right.”
The manager believes the club need to build a better off-field infrastructure, including links to the town’s business community, and supporter-led volunteering.
“Last year we helped save the club, this year we tried to keep things going, what’s next year’s plan? We need the base to move forward.
“We need to get ourselves sorted off the pitch. There aren’t enough people helping the main figures in and around the club. We need more people wanting to be hands on.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about creating links with all kinds of businesses that will help Worksop Town become stronger.
“We have to be willing to get things going, people like Kev Keep need support.
“If we can get ourselves right off the pitch, it means we’ve a better chance on it.”
Addressing another concern voiced by supporters, over rumours that players have been missing training, Shaw again conceded the situation was far from ideal.
But he vowed it wouldn’t continue to be a problem.
“Players have been fined for not training. Most of the players are making training if not once a week, twice a week.
“They know my feelings on it, and if people want to be here next year they will attend training.
“If not I don’t want them at the football club.
“It’s been one of my major frustrations. Attendance hasn’t been great, it’s been frustrating but next year if people dont want to train they can find a job elsewhere.”
Finally he spoke about the club’s inability to attract players in recent months, with several failed seven-day approaches for the likes of Adam Scott at Staveley.
His view is the main concern for Worksop Town should be getting control of their home, not the addition of a couple of star players.
“We’ve hit a brick wall. Players don’t want to leave their clubs at this stage of the season.
“It’s been a big issue all year really. We haven’t had enough mustard to get them in.
“We’ve lightened the wage bill but we still haven’t had enough.
“I’m a bit rigid in that I won’t pay Shaw Lane type money just for one player.
“Something has got to give at some point.
“Surely we want to have our own facility that we get to run?
“Worksop Town needs a ground and a home, and if we did maybe people in the town would be a lot more interested in getting involved.”