Dale Vince has vowed there will be no more final-day relegation rollercoaster rides during his tenure as Forest Green ….
…Rovers chairman – and backed Dave Hockaday to mastermind a play-off push in 2011/12.
Rovers were beaten 2-1 at Tamworth on Saturday but survived in the Blue Square Bet Premier on goal difference, courtesy of Kettering Town’s last-gasp victory over Southport.
Majority shareholder Vince will ignore calls for Hockaday’s head from some supporters by handing the ex-Watford coach a new indefinite contract this week, and the Ecotricity tycoon expects there to be pressures of a very different kind in twelve months’ time.
“We’ll be taking a lot of players with us into the new season, which is a great start I think, and we’ve said we’ll increase the budget a little bit to bring in some more,” said Vince.
“I’m hoping for palpitations in the play-offs next year, but let’s see.
“A contract has been agreed with Dave Hockaday – it might not have been signed yet but that’s a technicality.
“It’s a proper employment contract, which is a bit unusual in the world of football, and people have got to bear in mind that we started the season with 13 players who were part-time and had a tiny budget.
“We had a hell of a bad start, so to be fighting relegation at the end of it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anybody.
“But we’ll start properly next season and we should see a different job and a different outcome.”
Hockaday has been subjected to dissenting chants from Rovers fans on several occasions, including on Saturday, and many feel he is fortunate to still be at the helm after the club’s relegation – and subsequent reprieve – last season.
But Vince insisted: “It’s time for the fans to get away from the constant battle, the negativity and questioning the manager’s future. It should be a different world.”
Hockaday was left mixed emotions after defeat at The Lamb, having seen his side fall behind inside the first 3 minutes and eventually beaten by a freak Jake Sheridan goal.
“I’m relieved but really angry that we lost that game, and that’s been the story of our season,” said Hockaday.
“At 1-1 I could only see one team winning it, and I’m not too sure how we managed to lose it, but that’s not going to happen again.
“The chairman has given me a budget and the chance to build and keep the best players that we have.
“The fans were absolutely brilliant and we need to try and tap into that and get more of it, home and away.”
Meanwhile, top scorer Reece Styche has pledged to improve as a player next season, having netted an impressive sixteen goals but suffered a late dip in form.
He said: “I’ve said to the gaffer and the lads that I’ve been terrible in the last month and maybe being on fourteen bookings took that edge away from me.
“I’ll work really hard on the training ground with the gaffer and assistant-manager Gary Seward to become a better player.
“I’m signed up for next year and I really want to help the club push on to better things.”