WELL let's start at the end. As our coach, chock full with bubbling FGR Ambassadors headed over Minchinhampton Common into the sun’s dying embers, Pitchfork and I exchanged “all around us is EFL country!”
Let us be clear on one thing. The following players made the win at Wembley an unforgettable occasion: Aarran Racine, Ben Jefford, Charlie Clough, Charlie Cooper, Christian Doidge, Curtis Tilt, Dale Bennett, Dan Wishart, Darren Carter, Drissa Traore, Elliott Frear, Ethan Pinnock, Fabien Robert, Jake Gosling, Johnny Maxted, Kaiyne Woolery, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Kieffer Moore, Liam Noble, Manny Monthe, Marcus Kelly, Mark Ellis, Matt Tubbs, Mohamed Chemlal, Olly Mehew, Omar Bugiel, Rhys Murphy, Robert Sinclair, Sam Russell, Sam Wedgbury, Shamir Mullings. On that day of days, they all got a 10 from me.
More than that, they, Mark Cooper, Scott Lindsey, Scott Bartlett and all the other coaches and backroom staff, have claimed immortality in the Five Valleys. Whatever else they achieve in their lives, it cannot match the unique glory of taking a hamlet into the English Football League. And stuff the knighthoods, Dale Vince is the first President of the Green Republic of Stroud!
On the pitch, BT Pundits had wondered whether FGR’s youngsters might freeze. Did they heck. Bar a handful of misplaced passes and one occasion when Sam was possessed by the spirit of Bruce Grobbelaar, they performed like energy filled seasoned internationals.
All four goals were sensational quality and Keanu was inches from topping the lot with an audacious trap and lob.
Kaiyne and Christian took the honours but at this level, at the national stadium and in the most important game of their lives, all shone like the stars they have become. And we love them to bits.