SEAGULLS skipper Tom McCready says he can’t wait for next season and what could lie ahead after happily committing to what will effectively be his fifth campaign with the club.
He turns 31 next month but says: “Whether you are 21 or 31 you still get excited about each pre-season and that is no different for me.
“The legs still feel strong and hopefully I’ve got a few years left in me yet.”
So, with a 114 appearances and 32 goals behind him since first joining the Bay in January 2018, he had no hesitation in agreeing to stay on and is anxious to bring success to the club and supporters who re-ignited his love for the game at a time when he was seriously considering giving it up for good.
That appetite has been further boosted by the increased support the club has seen since returning to Wales – and particularly last season when Colwyn Bay boasted the best league average attendances in the JD Cymru Leagues.
“The difference from when I joined the club five years ago is like night and day,” he says. “To see and hear the support there every game is really good and it is up to the players to put in the performances that the fans are proud to watch.
“Some of those away days in the Welsh Cup run last season were brilliant. For a lot of lads at this level it is very rare to get to play in front of crowds like that.
“We didn’t have an easy run to the semi-final by any stretch of the imagination, but we showed what we can do against some top Welsh Prem teams with those fans behind us. That is what we want to build on and hopefully there’ll be more of those days next season.
“To be able to help bring success for those fans and to give something back to the club would be very special to me.”
Looking ahead to a possible promotion push next season Tom says: “I don’t think anyone is getting carried away, but obviously there are going to be some new signings and I think we learnt a lot last season which hopefully we can take into the next campaign.
“We are going to be up against some good teams again and there are always other teams that surprise you, but it will be a case of focusing on ourselves rather than what others are doing.
“We’ll have a good mix of younger players and experience, which is vital to have any chance of success. It is about the experienced players leading from the front and helping the younger lads to put in consistent performances.
“There will be some good rivalries and local ‘derbies’ to look forward to, so we are all excited to get back to it.”
Looking back at last season Tom admits it could have been better.
“We had a few injuries, but we can’t use that as an excuse. We should have been better in a lot of the games and I think we are big enough and sensible enough to realise that. The plan is to put that right and take the lessons we learnt into next season.
” At every level of football you need to put levels of performances and victories back to back consistently to be challenging near the top of the table and last season we didn’t do that anywhere near enough.
“So we know what we need to improve on and it is a case of going out there in every game to give the club and fans a season they can be proud of .”
Tom says the change of management midway through the campaign was not a major issue for the changing room.
“Everyone is aware of what can happen in football and as players you’ve got to do your best regardless of who is in charge.
” Last season I had the pleasure of playing under two great managers in Hoggy (Craig Hogg) and Steve (Steve Evans). It was very sad to see Hoggy go, given the amount of respect I have for him, but Steve has come in and been brilliant with myself and everyone else. Hopefully, together we can drive the club onto the level we all want to get to.
“It will be good to get in a full pre-season to understand exactly what the new manager wants and for him to understand more about us – and that will stand us in good stead for when the season gets under way.”