Captain James Richards – Supporters player of the Year
James Richards says he was never expecting to win the fans’ player of the season.
Before Tivvy rounded off their season with a 1-0 loss to AFC Totton, Richards was announced as the winner of the award.
Yet, despite being an ever-present force from midfield this season, the Yellows’ captain did not think he would even be in consideration for the award.
Richards revealed: “I wasn’t expecting it, I personally would have gone for Jack Wannell. Consistently, he’s been great for us this year in what is a hard role for him in a 3-5-2.
“I’m grateful and we’ve had great support this season. It’s the best I’ve seen in a long time and the best support I’ve had at any club I’ve played at. It’s great to get their player of the year.
“The fans have been the best I’ve seen, they’re absolutely brilliant. I can’t thank them enough as they’ve stuck by us through the highs and the lows and they’ve been exactly the same when we’re at the highs and the lows. I’ve got a lot of thanks to them and I want to congratulate them for being so good.
“I’ve enjoyed playing with my friends week in, week out, and we’ve got such a great team spirit. When we lost against Evesham last week, we had such a great time on the bus on the way back and called into a couple of pubs.
“For a team that’s not doing so well, the team spirit has stayed so high – if we were winning the league, it would be unbelievable.”
Richards feels Tiverton Town’s season has been one of highs and lows, although he hopes that most of the squad are still at Ladysmead for next season, as he feels some teams may become complacent when playing them due to their 16th placed finish.
He said: “When we were one point off the play-offs, we were strong and the team spirit was great. Unfortunately, all the injuries and suspensions came at the wrong time for us this season so we had 10 games where we didn’t win, which has resulted in our position.
“I think we should be in the lower end of the top half of the table, which would have been a good season.
“We’ve had such highs and a lot of lows. Being so close to being in the play-offs and going away to sides who, on paper, were much better than us, but we were losing to lower sides and went on that run where we didn’t win, which was the massive low.”
Richards added: “Teams will look at us and think we’re not one of the strongest sides but I know Dodge will be putting in the effort to get a few more experienced players next season.
“All our aim was for this season was to plant our feet for next season and I know we’re a strong side. We’ve got the backing of all the fans and the board, so I hope we can go on and contend next year.
“I hope everyone stays, even though it’s been a hard season. A few players have had some highs and lows which has put some of them off but we’d like to keep the tight-knit group and gain four or five more experienced players.”