FC CLACTON manager Tom Austin has hailed an unsung hero who he believes has played a pivotal role in the club's record-breaking success this season.

The Seasiders completed their amazing Thurlow Nunn League campaign with a 2-0 victory at Gorleston on Saturday.

They finished an impressive sixth in the premier division - the club's best-ever finish - and managed a record 19 victories.

They only lost 13 times and scored 76 goals - both the club's best in the premier division - while amassing their highest-ever top-flight points tally of 63, from 38 games.

Austin is understandably proud and delighted with his players but says there is another key figure behind the scenes who also deserves recognition.

“The pitch looks unbelievable for this time of year – in the past it would have been a dust bowl by now - and it’s all down to Wayne Chapman senior (whose son, also called Wayne, is the Seasiders captain)," he said.

“I can’t praise him enough.

“He works so hard and he’s been an absolute godsend to the club.

“Everyone involved here should feel proud and lucky to have someone like him involved because he never stops.

“I couldn’t tell you where we’d be without him and he deserves some recognition, because local football clubs like ours would fold without people like him.

“People like him don’t get praised or thanked enough.

“The players are the ones who go out there and try and win football matches on a Saturday and Tuesday.

“But it’s the people behind the scenes who hold everything together. People like Wayne.

“The result is that the club’s a nicer place to come and there’s no way we’d have achieved what we have this season without that pitch.

“It’s helped us play some really nice football, from back to front.”

Goals from Jake Clowsley and Karl Andrade secured the 2-0 win at Gorleston on Saturday.

It was their fifth straight win - a brilliant way to end the season.

Clowsley gave them the lead in the seventh minute, tucking home the rebound after Andrade's penalty had been saved, and it was Andrade himself who settled the match with 11 minutes remaining, curling a left-footed finish into the top corner for his 23rd goal of the season. It earned him the club's golden boot award, narrowly pipping strike partner Adam Hampson (22).

Reflecting on the season as a whole, Austin added: "I've learnt a lot, laughed a lot, shouted a lot and also proved a lot of people wrong.

"They're a top bunch of boys."