Sunday August 14 2016. Who would have thought, when we took on Aberystwyth Town in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League, where that day would lead. A narrow 2-1 victory, not only gave TNS the three points, but also became the first step on an amazing journey.
It was only a number of games in that we began to realise how significant a road we were travelling. The first record that tumbled was Bangor City’s consecutive Welsh Premier League victories from the start of the season. From then on, almost every week it was some record or another that was being equalled and then surpassed.
As the wins began to stack up, so did the media interest grow. To say that the world’s media was focused on TNS is no exaggeration. The emails and the telephone calls I received began to intensify in terms of profile. Just last week, working from home, I answered the phone.
Immediately afterwards, my wife asked who it was. ‘FIFA’, I replied. She laughed. After a flurry of calls from the likes of BeIN Sports, BBC, CNN, Guinness World Records, ITV, SKY Sports and TalkSPORT, it had become the norm. On a personal level I felt both excited and proud that our football club was gaining so much positive attention.
As well as numerous interviews by telephone that resulted in articles and pieces being produced around the world, we also had several visits from media outlets. When a couple of people are sent, and they spend significant time with you, then you know that the coverage will be extensive.
So it was, as journalists from The Guardian, along with the aforementioned BeINSports, FIFA and ITV – just to name a few – made personal journeys to Park Hall – and beyond – to record, interview and photograph. It was great to welcome people, look after them and ensure that everything went well on the day.
I enjoy the front-line stuff that I do at TNS, such as presenting and commentating on TNS Radio, post-match interviews, podcasts etc. That’s where you get to see my face and hear my voice. But equally so, I love being involved behind the scenes. That’s what much of the last few weeks in particular has been.
Ultimately, whatever we do, it’s all about the big picture. Whether we are the eyes and mouth or the internal organs, we’re still integral members of the body. In fact, it can be argued that the most important parts are the ones you don’t see. You can live with one eye but you won’t last very long without a heart.
That’s why, from the Chairman right through to the occasional and casual volunteer, we all have a role to play. Of course, we can’t forget the players and staff in all this. Whatever goes on throughout the week, it’s all about what happens on the pitch and in the changing room.
We can all feel incredibly proud of everyone that has pulled on a green and white jersey over the last few months. From the initial step, back in August, right through to the 27th, at Cefn Druids on December 30th, they’ve all been amazing. The fact is they will continue to be so as well.
The result at Newtown AFC on Saturday, although bringing the run of consecutive wins to an end, doesn’t take away from what an incredible achievement it’s been.
My feelings over the weekend went from disappointment, as the equaliser went in, through to sadness on the journey home. However, by the next morning my overriding emotion was one of intense pride. Proud of the players, proud of the run, proud of the achievement but above all, proud of the fact that I’m involved with The New Saints FC.
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