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Tony's passionate plea to fans

The boss has issued an honest and emotive message to supporters

26 November 2018

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“I always try to be respectful of our fans.

"I understand the cost of going to football matches and remember being a seven-year-old lad going to Ayresome Park. My dad was a steelworker in those days, and sometimes he’d go through the turnstile and I’d sneak in with him without having to pay.

"My point is, this is what happens in life. I could feel in my own family that my dad wanted me to go and watch football, and that’s why I think the young generation of fans is so important.

"I remember going to a game for the first time, seeing that green oasis among all the concrete and fans; it inspired me to want to become a footballer. I would never slate the fans because I’m a working-class lad myself.

"When the crowd are right behind our team, and we’re playing on the front foot, winning tackles and pushing forward, it is like having an extra man. It’s a cliché, but it’s an amazing thing, and I’m desperate for this club to do well. I’m desperate for this club to be at the top end of this league. Can we sneak into the play-offs, can we win the play-offs, can we get into the Premier League? At this moment, I don’t see anything that can stop us. I see a lot of clubs with big budgets but, on the day, over 90 minutes, I think this team can compete with anyone.

 

"I understand that some games have run away from us, but we can compete, and I want our fans to enjoy it and do it together. When I’m in that dressing room, I feel that the players really appreciate the support from the stands, so let’s try to do this together. As an individual, I need to get across what a difference it makes when the crowd is up. All of a sudden, we score, and you can feel the waves of attack - all of that emotion gets you out of your seat, doesn’t it? It’s excitement, that’s what football is; it’s why you keep going back.

"I have that lasting memory of my dad, the memory of him reeling out his money to take me to a game when I know he wanted to go to the pub that night. I want us to do this together; that’s why I try to ensure that this team, even when we get beat, give everything for the people of this town. People work hard for their money in this town and expect to see their team give everything, so that’s what we’ll try to do.

"The emotion of the fans helps you through games, and that’s what I hope we can achieve between the players on the pitch and supporters in the terraces.

"Let’s create this extra energy that our team needs."

Pride. Passion. Team spirit. Hard work. Pick up a half-season ticket and back the boys.


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