A record-breaking season at the XLCR Stadium has simply whetted Steve Cunningham’s appetite for success.
The make-up of their campaign, in numbers, reads a fourth place finish, 25 wins, 80 points and 86 goals scored in 40 outings, with leading scorer Danny Boyle accounting for 32 of those league goals.
“I’m very proud,” said the Reds boss. “Our objective at the start of the season was to finish in the top four and beat the record set by the previous management. We’ve done that.
“We want to move the club forward and I believe we’re doing that. We’ve broke all the club’s records this season. We’ve finished with the biggest points total, registered the fewest goals conceded, scored the most goals and Danny Boyle ended the term as the highest scorer in the division. I’m really proud of that achievement, especially in my first full season.”
Cunningham gained promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North as Steve Wilkes’s assistant at Padiham in 2013 and now he’s vying to match the achievement with Colne.
“I think anything other than winning the league next year will be an under achievement,” he said. “We’ve put our name out there and given ourselves a chance but that also brings pressure. It’s up to the players to step up to the mark.
“We want to progress every year and we want to win the league. That’s what we’ll be setting out to do. We want to keep making history and breaking records. We’re not far away from doing that with the team we’ve got.”
Meanwhile, Cunningham paid homage to his adopted footballing family at Holt House and the army of fans that have backed the club in their rise through the ninth tier of the pyramid.
“I’m extremely lucky because I’m surrounded by very good people,” he said. “I’ve got a great management team around me with people I can trust and class as friends. There’s Ted Cockett, Dixon Lambert, Liam Smith and Steve Petty.
“We’re all in it together. That group is backed up by great physios in Phil Atkinson and Kelsey Toothill. They make my job easier. Everyone has a good understanding, we’re all pulling in the same direction and the club is backed by some fantastic people.”
Cunningham added: “We want to target an average crowd of 300 people as well. We want to see more people coming through that turnstile on matchdays. We want to keep developing the club and a title would top that off.
“We all appreciate the support. The fans have been like a 12th man at times. They are the best supporters in the league by a distance and that shows how far we’ve come. We want to thank them all for their kind support.”
Meanwhile, despite losing 1-0 at home to Stockport County, Colne Reserves were presented with the trophy for finishing top of the Galaxy Lancashire League (West) at the final whistle on Saturday.
On 28 minutes, Stockport took the lead as Michael Hampson laid the ball off for Antoine Recizak to fire a shot into the top corner.
Colne looked for an equaliser, and just before the hour Lee Barrett had the ball in the net following a through ball from Freddie Mason but the flag was up for offside.
Stockport’s Jordyn Fitton broke clear with 10 minjtes remaining, and his shot was touched onto the bar.
On Sunday, Colne Reserves travel to Ashton United’s Hurst Cross Stadium, to play Brighouse Town Reserves in the final of the Galaxy League Cup with a 1 p.m. kick-off.
Admission is £3 adults and £1 children.