Robbie Blake wants Bognor to make sure they lift a frustrating season with silverware – and says he will do everything in his power to make sure next season’s league campaign ‘miles better’.
The Rocks finished a disappointing 14th in the Bostik premier after losing their final game 1-0 at Folkestone on Saturday – that after seeing their push for the play-offs fade in the final couple of months of a campaign that had promised so much.
Injuries hampered them all season but even so a record of only one league win since mid-February meant they ended well short of any hope of promotion.
They can still add gloss to the campaign by beating Burgess Hill - who have just been relegated from the Bostik premier - in Tuesday evening’s Sussex Senior Cup final at Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
Blake said they’d be going all out to bring home the trophy - while the managemenet were determined to ensure next season’s push for promotion was more successful.
The final game came after manager Jack Pearce wrote an open letter to fans saying he appreciated their support and understood their frustrations but felt the club were doing as well as they should be given their income.
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Blake, speaking after a solitary second-half goal condemned them to defeat in Kent, said: “The season’s finished disappointingly for us.
“The game typified our season. We started the second half really well and I thought we were going to go on and get a goal. But that’s three out of four games when we haven’t scored a goal and that’s something we’re trying to address. We had chances.
“What typified us was that it was our best passage of play that ended in their (Folkestone’s) goal. We got dispossessed and then after one ball over the top we’re picking the ball out of the back of the net. It sums our season up.”
Blake said his over-riding feeling looking back on the league season was that the team had to get ‘much. much better’.
“We’ve got to get a better team spirit, a better togetherness which comes with team spirit, we’ve got to be better in all areas and lick our wounds and make sure we’re right for a big game on Tuesday, when we must finish the season off very strongly.
“If we can get a little bit of silverware for the club and the players, it would be great.
“We can’t fault the players’ effort (at Folkestone). There was nothing to play for and we said to them ‘that was the challenge - could we spoil their party?’
“Folkestone won the game but we had committed players who at certain times made the wrong decisions.”
Blake singled out skipper Harvey Whyte for praise - and is wishing he could clone him.
“Harvey Whyte was immense (against Folkestone) and that’s why he’s got the captain’s armband,” Blake said. “His work ethic and desire were nothing short of immense. Harvey was a stand-out player for me. Chad Field played very well but Harvey was different class.
“He’s such a great lad but a good footballer too and I’m pleased we’ve got him. I said to him if we’d had six Harvey Whytes out there we’d have won the game.”
Blake hailed fans who had followed the team through thick and thin over the season, saying: “They’ve been immense. I can’t thank them enough. They’ve been fantastic to the lads and are a credit to the football club and themselves and we appreciate every bit of support we give them.
“We’re bitterly disappointed how the season’s finished and we hope next season we’ll be miles better. I’ll make sure we’re better if I’m still here.
“I will be giving 150% to make sure we have a better season next year.”
Blake can’t wait for the cup final and was pleased no players picked up injuries in the final league outing.
“It’s a one-off game and they (Burgess Hill) will be licking their wounds, they’ll want to finish positively, like we will,” said the coach.
“It will be a matter of who wants it most on the day. It’ll be a great occasion for the supporters, the players and everyone connected to both clubs.
“Let’s hope we put a good final on but we are victorious.”