Non league football is a unique and special thing to be a part of, and you wont have to go far to find someone that will agree with me on that one. Every club at this level and below is built around volunteers, around people that love their clubs and give up their time (and money) for little to no reward save for being able to watch their side take to the pitch every Saturday afternoon.
For me, Concord Rangers is that special club that I give my time to on a daily basis (whether it be website updates, the newsletter, twitter or the matchday programme), and I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of it for a decade now.
Compared to some of the old guard around the club I’m a relative newbie, first watching the club in their first season in the then Ryman (Isthmian) Premier. There’s been plenty of memorable moments since then, with the promotion to the NLS, the Ryman League Cup win, the three Essex Senior Cup wins, and who can forget the FA Cup First Round fixture against Mansfield Town.
I was a supporter that got to know the people around the club, I got involved with writing stuff (like this) online and having it put on the website and in the matchday programme, then prior to the 2016/17 season I joined the club committee and became programme editor. I’ve met friends for life here at this club, we’ve shared birthdays, engagements and weddings together, and have got each other through losses too. Personally I’ll never forget after my Nan passed a few years back, coming down to the club and seeing the “football family” here helped bring me through it, and I’m sure there’s more than just me with stories like that around this club and around non league football.
So with all of that, what I’m trying to highlight is the connection we have to this little club of ours, and with that we feel every high and every low that the club goes through.
This FA Trophy run is most definitely a high, and it’s lead to one of the biggest, if not the biggest fixture in the clubs history this coming Saturday afternoon against Royston. For those fans that were a part of the other highlights I mentioned earlier, you know the feeling, but to the newer fans, take what you felt after the Leamington game the other week and multiply it tenfold, you might get an inkling of what could be coming our way if we win!
While we have to focus on the game at hand, it’s difficult as a supporter not to have one eye on what could lay ahead of us, a 2 legged semi-final would stand between the winning side Saturday and a trip to Wembley. Can you imagine that? It doesn’t hurt to dream, and it would be a dream come true to see Concord Rangers take to the Wembley pitch.
To get there though there’s a couple of obstacles in our way, the first being Royston Town this weekend. The Crows are bringing a lot of fans down (6 coaches worth at least), so we’ll need to be supporting our lads loud and proud to drown that lot out. Hopefully we’ll see plenty of fellow Beachboys at The Aspect Arena on Saturday afternoon cheering on our lads to what would be another historic victory.
You Are My Concord!!