HALSTEAD Town first-team manager Mark McLean is confident that the club's committee, staff, volunteers and fans are all creating an environment where his players can prosper on the pitch.

And the Humbugs boss and his team have shown their gratitude by making a very public show of appreciation as they continue making preparations for a successful season next year.

McLean and a number of players have told the Gazette how important the support they receive from behind the scenes is to them in driving forward on the pitch.

Last season saw Halstead make big strides as they improved from a tenth-place finish the year before to put themselves in the top three in Thurlow Nunn League division one south and McLean was clear about how the "family feel" at the Milbank Stadium had helped bring about the progression.

"Now that the dust has settled on a very intense season on the pitch, a few things have become very clear off it," he said.

"The committee members and volunteers are invaluable to the continued progression on the pitch.

"They have created an environment of a family feel.

"As a player I always felt more comfortable at a club with no divide, no barriers, no special ones - where every player is treated the same, whether under-18, reserve or first team.

"That is the environment I wanted to promote when I took the job but that can only be done if the people that really matter support that and this committee and these volunteers really do.

"They work tirelessly to make our teams comfortable and give them the platform to just go and express themselves.

"They are all working as one and it reflects around the players."

McLean said his players had seen the benefits of hard work to enhance the Milbank Stadium pitch in recent years and he appreciated the work that was being carried out again this summer to keep that progression going.

It is all hard work that will hopefully lead to further steps forward in the 2019/20 campaign when McLean and his team will be pushing for promotion to reward the club and their loyal fans for the support they have given them.

And the Humbugs boss is also extremely grateful for that support on the terraces.

McLean added: "We have to recognise the wonderful fan base we have at Halstead.

"With over 1,500 fans attending the last three home league games alone, they have shown us the that if we give them something to get excited by then they will definitely come out in there numbers and support us.

"The loyal have always been loyal but we are seeing a new wave of supporter that is taking the atmosphere to a new level. "Better known as the Halstead ULTRAS, equipped with drums and songs, they are ramping up that matchday experience for our players.

"Not many clubs at our level and even levels above can touch that atmosphere so we know we must grab the moment.

"You are assisting in making Halstead Town FC very much the place to be.

"With your help from the outset of the new season and hopefully FA cup competitions returning to Halstead we ask you to come on this journey with us again. "You will make us better and harder to beat.

"From all the playing staff - thank you."