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Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm on negative fan after 2-1 defeat at Potters Bar Town

Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm insists negative comments from his own fans are not going to take the gloss off reaching the Bostik Premier play-offs.

Angels lost 2-1 at Potters Bar on Saturday to finish the season in fourth spot – meaning a Thursday night trip to Haringey.

A minority of Tonbridge supporters voiced their opinion during the defeat and McKimm stopped one fan after the final whistle to state his disapproval at their vocal negativity.

Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm. Picture: Alan Langley
Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm. Picture: Alan Langley

"I'll get this off my chest straight away," said McKimm. "I was fuming with some of the comments I was listening to when we were 2-0 down.

"We worked wonders to get this club in the position of the play-offs.

"I went to speak to one of our supporters. We can hear it, 'sort it out, we've got to win this game'. We didn't go out to lose this game, that's a fact.

"I asked him afterwards if he wanted to find out why the team selection was what it was, come and speak to me. Don't scream at me from 40 yards.

"We had a lot of supporters here but it wasn't a full house so I can see people. I could see him doing it. That's what happens at this club and that's the sad thing about it.

"It's what turns you away from doing what you're doing because you put so much effort in and you get someone saying that.

"To be negative like that, okay maybe he's disappointed we didn't get a home draw, maybe he didn't want to travel to Haringey, I don't know, but it's just disappointing.

"We've worked wonders to get us into the play-offs, and you get that – what can I do?

"I just wanted to say to him, please don't scream at me from 40 yards, come and speak to me because I'm approachable. We shook hands at the end and that was it. He said he was frustrated and annoyed, that's fine. But there's no need to scream like that."

That approach was in stark contrast to one fan, who wrote to McKimm to thank him and the players for their efforts in securing a top-five finish this season.

McKimm revealed: "I had a letter given to me before the game by one of our supporters, who voices his opinion at times, but gave us a letter thanking me and the players for getting us in this position - and I thought that was unbelievable."

As for finishing the season in fourth, McKimm is delighted just to be in the play-offs having worked wonders at Longmead on limited resources during the campaign.

His squad showed all their battling qualities to bounce back in the final third of the season after faltering either side of Christmas.

"I'm not looking at that (negative fan reaction), we've had a remarkable second half of the season so I'm not going to let that get to me," vowed McKimm. "Now I've got to look at what we've done and since the turn of the year, the boys have been fantastic. I keep saying it, they've got us in the position.

"We were in a better position at the start of the day but we're still in a good position, albeit we've got to travel to Haringey.

"We've got to play someone and we're in the play-offs. If I look doom and gloom at that now, the players pick up on it – we've just to get on with it."

Reflecting on the Potters Bar defeat, McKimm felt his team lost their way after a promising start but knew it was never going to be easy with a strong wind and an awful pitch to contend with.

"That pitch was not easy," said McKimm. "It was dreadful, the bounce of it, the wind, it wasn't nice. But both teams had to play on it and they dealt with the conditions better than what we did.

"We went with the side we went with because they are big at the back and we thought we could get down the sides of them which for the first 15 minutes we did and then we decided to do our own thing and change it which was our downfall.

"We're in the play-offs, we set out at the start of the season to get there, whether it was second, third, fourth or fifth.

"We had an opportunity to go second, we didn't take it but we've still got another game. We've still extended the season for Tonbridge Angels Football Club."

Tonbridge will wait to find out the extent of knee injuries to Craig Stone and Tom Beere ahead of the trip to Haringey on Thursday. Carshalton host Merstham in the other semi-final with the final due to take place on Monday, May 6.

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