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Hendon boss McCann reflects on his 10 years in charge of the Ryman League club

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 February 2015

Hendon manager Gary McCann

Hendon manager Gary McCann

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Hendon boss Gary McCann celebrated 10 years in charge of the Greens on Monday and is now focused on getting back into the promotion hunt.

McCann’s team lost 2-0 at Peacehaven & Telscombe in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday, and he is expecting a reaction at Lewes this weekend.

McCann said: “I received lots of nice messages on Monday, which tells you you must be doing a decent job,”

“It has been a long, hard slog the last 10 years but on the whole it has been excellent.

“In all my years at the club it was my first trip to Peacehaven and we never got going.

“It was freezing cold, there was sleet and snow. I’m not one for using the weather as an excuse because at non-league level we are used to playing in difficult conditions.

“After they went a goal up we missed two or three massive chances. If we’d have taken one of them I think we’d have gone on to win the game but, instead of pegging them back, they hit us on the break and got their second goal.”

The defeat saw Hendon drop to fifth in the Premier Division table. With games in hand on their rivals they are still in an excellent position to challenge for automatic promotion or secure a play-off place.

Looking back on the players he has managed during the last decade in charge, McCann admits five of the players currently in his dressing room have been a joy to manage.

McCann said: “The loyalty and commitment shown to me by Kevin and Casey Maclaren, Lee O’Leary, Dave Diedhiou and James Fisher has been one of my highlights.

“If I was to single out one player as the best I’ve managed it would be Darren Currie.

“The season he played for us [in 2011-12], he was the best player in the league. He was the ultimate professional and I enjoyed being in his company.

“The things that stood out for me about him was his awareness on the pitch, his understanding of the game and his end product. He made others up their game.”

In terms of the most enjoyable matches, McCann has fond memories of several games.

“Two comebacks stick out for me,” he said. “We were 2-0 down at home against Tonbridge Angels and we missed a penalty but went on to win the game 3-2 with goals in the 89th, 92nd and 94th minutes [in August 2007].

“We were losing 4-1 at half-time against Wealdstone when they were playing at Northwood’s ground. After some strong words in the dressing room we went on to win 5-4 [in August 2005].

“The two FA Cup wins against Corby and Eastbourne Borough [in 2012], which put us into the first round proper, were brilliant as they brought in some much-needed money. We also won the London Senior Cup against Kingstonian 2-0 [in April 2012] playing some of the best football I’ve seen since I took on the job.”

n Hendon progressed to the quarter finals of the League Cup with a 1-0 win against Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Kezie Ibe’s second half strike was enough to set up a home tie with Maidstone United, who are currently top of the Ryman League.

It is the first time the Greens have reached the quarter finals of the competition since 2002-03, when they were eventually knocked out in a two-legged semi-final against Canvey Island.

Follow me @RobBrennan82

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