Thu, 24 May 2018
DANNY Robinson revealed he was ‘speechless’ after guiding Thatcham Town to FA Vase glory at Wembley on Sunday.
Shane Cooper-Clark’s first-half penalty was enough to see the Kingfishers lift the trophy and become only the second southern team in 10 years to do so.
Speaking after the achievement, Robinson said: “We’ve created history. I’ve never been speechless in all my life, but I am right now.
“It’s unbelievable. To see so many people all wearing Thatcham colours, a lot of friends and family to celebrate what we have done this year – the biggest double in Step Five – it’s just brilliant.”
Thatcham were backed by around 5,000 supporters at the national stadium and they were in full voice throughout the whole game.
“Look how far we have come,” Robinson said.
“When I first arrived we were getting between 50 and 60 fans every week and people might have forgotten that this football club was here.
“As a manager it’s my job to make sure we drum up good interest, play good football and to be successful by showing people that there’s a fantastic club here.”
Prior to the final, Thatcham were allowed to use Reading’s Madejski Stadium and Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park to improve preparations.
“It definitely helped. It’s important to get used to arenas we’re not used to – it’s normally Waterside Park and a bobbly pitch.
“To go to Wembley and perform like we did, I thought we were the better team for 70 minutes.
“Obviously they were chasing the game, they were going to pump the ball forward, but I thought our back four and [goalkeeper] Chris Rackley were exemplary.”
The Kingfishers had a number of chances to make sure of the result, but Robinson was delighted that his team had scored first.
He said: “If you manage to get the first goal in the cup final, the other team are not on the front foot and anxiety starts to set in.
“I always said that we needed to create the first chance. “I think that every time we went forward, you could see in the first half they were dropping deeper.
“We won, I would like to have won by more, but if someone said I’ll give you a clean sheet and a 1-0 win in the FA Vase final, I would have taken that all day long,” the 32-year-old admitted.
Cooper-Clark’s 24th-minute penalty brought his tally for the season up to 62 goals and Robinson was confident when he stepped up to take the kick.
He said: “I’m blessed to have Shane. He’s a special talent – when he has the ball with his back to goal there’s no better finisher at Step Five.
“When he has the chance of hitting the target, he does so 90 per cent of the time.
“Shane came to us a little bit raw. He scored goals for Bracknell Town, but we’ve worked on him and he’s improved this year.”
Robinson had to leave two players out of the squad for the final and he admitted: “To leave two players out of the squad is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do.
“Michael Miller will go on to be a very good player – he will play at Wembley – and Tom Browne has been a fantastic servant to this club.
“It’s people like that who make the football club.”