Beachboys In Conference South!
Concord Rangers blogger Alan Jessup-Peacock takes a break from celebrating his club’s promotion to jot down a few words on the subject!
Football has an amazing effect on your emotions & your physical state, and never is it more apparent then during the business end of the season!
So Monday 6th May started like any other day, except full of nerves and a distinct lack of sleep because of it. History had already been made by Concord Rangers this season with the highest league position and the Ryman League Cup victory, but today was a chance to add to that in spectacular fashion by winning promotion to the Conference South. Win or lose though, it had been a brilliantly successful season for the Beachboys and the lads could be proud of what they had already achieved.
The players coach left Thames Road just after 9:30, and so began the long slog up the A12 towards the day’s opponents, Lowestoft Town, themselves a team who were making their third consecutive appearance in the Ryman Playoff final. The mood was jovial to be fair, a bit of nervous excitement around, but that was eased midway through the journey as we descended on a café just past Ipswich and came close to eating them out of business (well, that may have been just me). A great story of the day was that winger Reece Harris had flown back from the States just to be a part of the squad, which to me just highlighted the effect this club has on the people involved with it.
We arrived in a sunny Lowestoft at around half one, and the supporters we had begun singing almost immediately, if only to drown out the fairly woeful karaoke singer our hosts had brought in to “entertain” the crowds! 90 minutes to kill, so the Lowestoft facilities were enjoyed & the beer sampled, as the other coaches of Beachboys fans began to appear. The time just seemed to drag until kick off, as the ground filled and nerves were clearly being felt by everyone there (final attendance was around 2,490).
With the game under way, a group of us descended on the shed behind the Trawlerboys goal and proceeded to make ourselves heard with a variety of songs, made all the more vocal when Steve King headed in our first goal. There wasn’t much room in that shed, but we made sure every inch was used as we bounced around celebrating! Our voices rarely stopped to be fair, even when Lowestoft equalised we continued to show our support and cheer on the lads. It was a beautiful day, and an occasion that happens rarely, so we were making the most of it! Second half was more of the same, noise from us and Concord playing fairly well against a Lowestoft side who were not at their best. Maybe it was the pressure of being there for the 3rd time in a row, maybe it was the crowd, but the Trawlerboys were not playing as well as they had done previously. Concord made that count as with a few minutes of normal time left Leon Gordon popped up at the back post to head the winner past the ‘Stoft ‘keeper, sending us fans into delirium!
After what seemed like an eternity the final whistle blew, prompting emotional scenes from the players, bench, committee and the fans (including myself) who clambered on to the pitch to celebrate the amazing achievement. That was my first pitch invasion, actually felt special to be a part of! Didn’t do myself any favours though as I fell to the ground in a heap after getting over the barrier! The first person I saw was Danny Cowley, it was all I could do to give him a hug and scream “we did it Dan”! The whole experience of the day, the celebrations on the pitch, on the coach home & in the club afterwards, was something to behold. Everyone pulling together for one goal, all the emotion, blood sweat and tears that have been invested into this club being worthwhile as promotion was achieved. When I started watching Concord Rangers 3 short years ago, never did I believe I would be a part of something so special, it’s a great feeling which continues to show why non-league football has become such a big part of my life!
Everyone involved in the club should enjoy this moment, soak up the emotion of it all, and then in few weeks time, start looking forward to life in the Conference South!
You Are My Concord!