Speaking shortly after seeing his side’s long unbeaten run come to an end with a shock 6-1 defeat at West Allotment Celtic on Saturday, Bay manager Nick Gray gave an honest assessment of the game and the progress made by the club this season.
“Congratulations to West Allotment. It was just one of them days for us really. I couldn’t see that coming. At half time if you’d said to anyone that West Allotment would win 6-1 they’d have thought you were living on Mars! No one could see that coming.
“First half I thought we did well but it was just that the quality of the passing wasn’t great. We were the better side. We just had to improve on moving the ball quicker and making better decisions in the final third.
“Second half, at the start we had the chance to go 1-1 and if that goes in it may well have been a different game, but we’ll never know. And then to be honest we’ve had a bad ten minutes and conceded four goals.
“I heard at 3-0 someone saying in the crowd ‘this is getting embarrassing’. Well I’m disappointed with that because if that’s the case of being embarrassing they mustn’t have been watching the last six years. These lads have been terrific this season and that’s a bad day at the office and we’ll take it on the chin. It hurts hard, but I think some people are quick to jump on bandwagons. Where we are now and where we were six months ago is chalk and cheese and yes, we had a bad day, we’ve lost three points, we’ve lost badly today and it hurts. It should hurt, it hurts me and it hurts the players, but we cannot dwell on it. I think things like that just make me more determined to succeed.
“However if people make comments like that, maybe they’d be better not coming to watch Whitley Bay. That’s my personal honest opinion. We win together, lose together, draw together. We’ve had a week where we were really great on Wednesday against Newcastle United, but today was just one of those days where as I say, we had a bad ten minutes. Alright second half we weren’t great after that ten minutes but at 5-0 there’s not many teams that are going to come back. To be fair to the lads they kept on going. We made the changes, we wanted to try and make sure we got no injuries for next week and the positives are we’ve got no injuries for next week, no suspensions next week. We have a full week of training this week and we’re ready for next week. Where we’ve come in six months is a long way.
“West Allotment, how they were celebrating in the dressing room, it was like they’d won the World Cup, but that’s a compliment to us and well done to them on a deserved win.”
He continued “I’ll defend this team to the hilt. If we do something wrong, we’ll try and put it right. In a game of football there’s two teams trying to win. You haven’t got a divine right to win a game of football. We’ve already won more games and got more points than in the whole of last season. Where we are in the league, we’re still in the Senior Cup, we’re still in the Vase, and that type of comment that I heard isn’t wanted and really cheeses me off to be polite!
“It was a heavy pitch. It showed how it was when their lad missed the easiest chance of the game in the last minute. We had a bad ten minutes when we conceded four goals. The game was gone then we made the changes to give people minutes ahead of next week and to keep people fresh. We kept on going to the end and I don’t expect anything different from our lads. I’ve told them not to dwell on it and we’ll go again. I’ve no doubt in the group me and Liam have got here. We’ll go again, we win together, lose together and stick together.
“I don’t blame it on anyone, the chances we had at one end, the defending at the other; we lose together as a unit. I’ll take responsibility; I’ll take the rap. This is a terrific group to work with and we’ve had a bad day at the office which I’ve always said will happen. There’s inconsistencies there because of the youthfulness of the squad. That’s what makes you better by learning from the bad times. The group we’ve got will learn from them I’ve got no doubt in my mind. You go from the euphoria of Wednesday night to four days later, that. It’s one of those days.
“I’m hurting but I’ve been in football long enough to know that losing makes you stronger, but we’ve got loads of good things to look forward to. A clean bill of health, full squad to pick from next week apart from maybe Sean Taylor.
“Should I have kept the same team today as on Wednesday? I thought there were some tired legs and some people needed minutes. I’ve got no blame at all for any of the players in there, it’s just one of them bad days and we take it on the chin.”