David Jeffrey has reiterated his determination to establish Ballymena United as a major force within Irish League football.
The recently appointed manager outlined his plans for the Showgrounds club as he addressed guests at the club’s annual awards function, held after Saturday’s final game of the season against Portadown.
In a passionate address to more than 200 guests in the Des Allen Suite, Jeffrey gave supporters and officials an assurance that he would do his utmost to bring success to the club.
“I’m so frightened of failure it’s untrue - there was no way I was coming back (into football) unless I thought we could be successful,” said Jeffrey.
“It’s not about what this club deserves but rather where it should be.
“It’s time to stop accepting mediocrity - we are planning to go forwards.
“It will take time but I can promise you this - there will be no stone left unturned with regard to changing this club.
“I’m sick, sore and tired of hearing about Ballymena United being a sleeping giant - this is a giant that hasn’t awoken yet but, my goodness gracious me, it will.
“I’m being very clear that this club is on the way up.
“I don’t do second best - I’m only interested in winning.
“How can I make Ballymena United champions - that must be the anyone who comes to work here.
“I would tell people, start to dream, but don’t start to dream unless you are prepared to work very hard to realise it.
Skipper Jim Ervin, who, along with Allan Jenkins, dominated the first team awards described the past season as “a very difficult year, both personally and for the team”.
“We haven’t achieved the standards we set ourselves at the start of the season.
“Winning the County Antrim Shield was fantastic but as a group of players, we weren’t satisfied with that.
“We still see the year as a disappointment but we will work desperately hard and come back in pre-season with all guns blazing
“Knowing what way David works and what he expects, we will do everything to make sure next year is a better season,” added Jim.
Chairman John Taggart reflected upon the events of the season, including the departure or previous manager Glenn Ferguson and the arrival of Jeffrey as his successor.
“The season was a bit up and down,” he admitted.
“We did win a trophy but we didn’t build on it and we lost our way a wee bit.
“If you keep doing the same things over and over, you don’t move forward.”
Looking ahead to what is expected to be busy summer of player recruitment, the chairman said: “It is the nature of football that players will leave and others come in.
“We will build a team that will make you people proud.
“David (Jeffrey) could have sat at home and watched TV or he could have commentated on games - it says a lot about him that he came back into management with Ballymena United.
“He is the correct man at the correct club at the right time.
“By the time the season kicks off in August, we will have a team that people want to see,” the chairman added.
* The function also helped raise a significant amount of money for Bravehearts NI, the club’s nominated charity partner.