As the curtains close on yet another thrilling Southern League season, Bristol Manor Farm Football Club would like to extend a heartfelt appreciation to our devoted and enthusiastic supporters, loyal and committed sponsors, and of course our young and hard-working matchday players and staff. Their unwavering dedication has been instrumental in the club’s ability to maintain its Step 4 status, and Manager Lee Lashenko is especially grateful for their invaluable support.
From Chairwoman Gill Callaghan to the dedicated team of volunteers, the past year has been arguably the most challenging one for everyone at Bristol Manor Farm. The loss of former Club Secretary Steve Hillier during the global pandemic, and the solemn one-year anniversary of the passing of our beloved Geoffrey Sellek on the day of Saturday’s Inter-Step Play-Off Final, have made it an incredibly difficult time for the entire Manor Farm community.
The Farmy Army, however, have been a constant presence at both home and away games, providing a passionate and vocal backing for our team (plus a lot of Clarke’s pies and pasties from Karon & Jamie’s Pie Stand). From Tuesday nights down in Dorset, to Saturday afternoons in South Worcestershire, they have travelled in their numbers regardless of whether we win, draw or lose.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank the Farmy Army for everything they have done for us this season,” Lashenko said. “Their passion and commitment have made a real difference to our team, and we hope that they can continue their monumental support next season and beyond. We really couldn’t have done it without them.”
After the club’s promotion final loss in Winchester, Bristol Manor Farm endured a difficult start to the season and found themselves in the automatic relegation spots at Christmas. Manager Lee Lashenko recalls a particular moment which ‘rejuvenated the club’s identity’ that gave him and his team of staff and players the confidence to pull the club away from danger.
“I have to admit that when we experienced significant losses against Melksham and Slimbridge at home, it was difficult for me to look beyond the challenges that myself, the team, and the players were facing at the club,” Lashenko said.
“But there was one night which spurred new life into myself as the Manager of this proud football club, and really provided us with a solid foundation to build on for the latter half of the season.
“We were 4-0 down away to Hamworthy United on a cold, wet Tuesday night with what was a threadbare squad filled with six players under the age of 20,” Lashenko expressed.
“I was feeling down about myself as Manager at half time, but the way those young lads responded during the second period was unbelievable. We won the second half 2-1 with Luco Ponsillo and Will Gallagher getting the goals, and for me that changed the whole perspective for us.
“The experienced players needed that blend of youthfulness and energy, and come the end of the season I think we got the formula absolutely spot on with our upturn in league form,” Lashenko said.
At the end of the season, the playing staff’s collective efforts filled the football club with immense pride. However, Manager Lashenko acknowledges Jake Gosling’s exceptional commitment to the club over the past two years, and believes that Bristol Manor Farm is fortunate to have a player of his caliber on the team.
“Jake Gosling is not just an exceptional player, but an exceptional human being as well,” said Lashenko.
“He’s not moaned or groaned once since turning out for us, and the fact that he has turned down lucrative offers, as well as driving an hour and a half from his home each week, just shows how much he cares about playing for this team.
“Over the years, Bristol Manor Farm has been fortunate to attract exceptional players, and Jake Gosling playing for us is an absolute privilege. He’s a fantastic footballer and a brilliant person to have around the dressing room,” Lashenko said.
One aspect which has been absolutely vital to ensuring the survival of this football club is the tremendous financial backing from all of our sponsors this year and beyond. During these difficult times, we understand that supporting a football team is not always easy, and that it takes time, effort, and resources. We are truly grateful for every bit of help that our sponsors have given to Bristol Manor Farm Football Club.
With the club actively reflecting on the previous campaign, and starting to prepare for another season in the Southern League, Manager Lee Lashenko would like to thank the Farmy Army for one last time this season:
“On behalf of the entire Bristol Manor Farm team, I would like to thank you for your unwavering support and loyalty. We are honored to have such passionate and dedicated supporters, and we hope that we have made you proud this season.
“We hope you all have a wonderful and deserved summer, and the football club can’t wait to welcome you back in a few months time,” Lashenko concluded.