Aaron Williams: 'I wasn't really given a fair chance' at Harrogate Town

Aaron Williams celebrates after netting a late equaliser against Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Aaron Williams celebrates after netting a late equaliser against Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Outgoing striker Aaron Williams has expressed his disappointment at not being given more of an opportunity to prove himself in a Harrogate Town shirt.

The 25-year-old's departure was confirmed on Saturday afternoon, just one year and two days on from his arrival at Wetherby Road following a goal-laden campaign with then-National League North rivals Brackley.

He began the 2018/19 season leading the line alongside Dominic Knowles, but dropped to the bench after three matches without a goal and then had to wait until late September for his next start.

A trio of goals in successive appearances followed, however Williams soon found himself out of favour. After starting at Wrexham in a 2-0 FA Cup replay defeat on October 23, it was more than six months before he was selected in Simon Weaver's first XI again.

"I wasn't really given a fair chance," said Williams, who netted five times in 38 Town appearances, 29 of which came from the substitutes' bench.

"I felt that I did well at the beginning of the season without scoring and then I lost my place and had to wait 10 matches for another start. I then got three goals in three games but got pulled again because I didn't score for two.

"I think that I proved what I could do by scoring three in three. I'm confident in my own ability and I believe that I would have got plenty of goals this season if I'd been given the opportunity.

"I scored five in seven starts in the league and I think that those numbers say a lot."

Despite his lack of game-time last term, the former Peterborough United and Newport County man revealed that he was willing to stay and fight for his place until a conversation with boss Weaver changed his mind.

"I would happily have stayed and fought for my place and I had a conversation with the manager and said that I wanted to play more," Williams added.

"He told me that Becky [Mark Beck] and Mullers [Jack Muldoon] were his first-choice strikers and obviously he's bringing in new signings as well, so I said that I thought it was best if I moved on. The gaffer said he agreed with me.

"I never had a fair crack, but it's the manager who has to make the decisions and I don't look back with regret. At the time, coming here was the perfect move for me. I sat down with my family and they all agreed it was the right thing to do.

"I see this as a learning experience and I don't have a bad word to say about anyone at the club. The fans are great, the family who own the club are great. There are a lot of great people at Harrogate Town."

Williams saved the last word on his time in North Yorkshire for Town's supporters.

"I want to say a massive thank you to the fans. They've been brilliant with me," he said.

"Every time I've been warming up on the side of the pitch I've only ever heard positive words from them. When I've met supporters in the town they've always given me 100 per cent encouragement.

"It's hard when you're out of the team. If the fans are on your back it makes it harder, but these people have played a massive part in helping to make my time in Harrogate a positive experience."