Back in the late 1980s I was approached by an ex-colleague who wondered whether I would rather cover action in the Football League instead of the Stones Bitter Championship rugby league.
Despite the fact that meant trading top flight 13-a-side fare at Wakefield Trinity for fourth division relegation battles, I duly switched to working for the Halifax Evening Courier and the glamour of following Halifax Town.
The standing joke at the time – and for many years before and after – was that the club was actually called Halifax Town Nil.
For the best part of a decade I reported on everything from the stunning goal-scoring genius of Ricky Holden, to the fall from the league under the best manager I have had the privilege of working with in Michael ‘Basil’ Rathbone, to the eventual restoration to the Football League with a Jamie Paterson inspired win at Kidderminster Harriers under a management team Huddersfield fans will know very well – George Mulhall and Kieran O’Regan.
Even though that particular reporting roller-coaster ride lasted a fair few years, at no point did the word ‘Wembley’ ever crop up.
While it might have been a long while ago – and technically this is a different club as the one I used to cover was dissolved in 2008 – I cannot help but be delighted for the Shaymen that the word ‘Wembley’ is now very significantly and pressingly on their agenda.
When the newly-promoted FC Halifax Town were beaten 5-1 at Cambridge on the first weekend of this season it was impossible to imagine that those two clubs would be meeting in the Conference Premier play-offs.
Yet tonight manager Neil Aspin’s side are at home to Cambridge in the first leg of a semi-final that will lead to one of those clubs taking the pitch at Wembley on Sunday, May 18.
Given how well the Shaymen have played at home this term – their league record reads 16 won six drawn and only one lost – there is every reason to believe that Aspin’s side could produce a performance that could put the tie firmly in their hands ahead of Sunday’s trip back to Abbey.
If you have the chance go and give the Shaymen your support do so – you might just be part of history!
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