Banbury United boss Mike Ford knows managing expectations is always a difficult balance.
So, after seeing the Puritans all but seal their Evo-Stik League South status at St Neots Town, Ford was keen to put things into perspective.
You have to have some backbone and resilience in this job, and a thick skin!Puritans boss Mike Ford
He said: “When you’ve been in management for a long time there will be odd seasons when things don’t go for you. This season is the norm for this football club for the past 15 years but that doesn’t make it acceptable.
“It’s understanding that the previous three seasons were ones this club doesn’t experience very often. Those three seasons led to massive optimism for the fourth season and when we started how we did, fans had expectations. But it hasn’t turned out how we wanted it to for various reasons.”
And Ford was keen to defend his record in management, especially in the non-league game.
He said: “I’ve twice been caretaker-manager of Oxford United in the Football League, managed Brackley Town and Oxford City over nearly 15 years, so there are going to be times when things don’t go for you, no matter how hard you try.
“You don’t always get the right results but you have to stick at it. I’ve worked with some people who, at the first sign of failure, resign and leave the club.
“You have to have some backbone and resilience in this job, and a thick skin! Over the course of my managerial career you develop those traits.”
Looking back on Saturday’s success at St Neots, Ford added: “It was nice to get back to how it used to be, for the players and supporters. I’d forgotten how good that feeling was.
“It was the right way to approach the game and a job well done to get another clean sheet, we set the team up not to lose the game.
“The players did exactly what we asked them to do in midweek, working on our shape, being compact and putting St Neots under pressure.
“We just had to be very difficult to beat to get something out of it. Our front two, Ricky Johnson and Joe Iaciofano were outstanding for us.
“Joe deserved his opportunity to start and his efforts to work hard in training got him his start at St Neots. Playing George Nash on the left gave us good balance and allowed Greg Kaziboni to play with more licence on the opposite flank.
“Everyone worked really hard and Matt Richards did a good holding job in midfield for us. It got easier as it went on for us, especially when the third goal went in.”