FORMER Town star Paul Reid is urging the class of 2011 to make themselves some promotion memories which will last a lifetime.
Now 43 and first-team coach at Port Talbot Town in Wales, midfielder Reid spent three years with Town from 1994 and was part of Neil Warnock’s play-off winning squad.
He didn’t play in the dramatic semi-final against Brentford or the Wembley final victory over Bristol Rovers because of injury.
But he still has the Examiner cuttings from those days, a winners’ medal and many happy memories.
“Being involved in something like the play-offs is very special for a group of players and I really do hope Lee Clark and the current team can go to Old Trafford and do it,” said Reid, who will be part of Town’s Masters team on Sky TV in Sheffield on June 26.
“They have obviously been on a brilliant run, I thought they played fantastically well against Bournemouth in the semi-final second leg and when it went to penalties, it brought back all those memories of that famous night at Griffin Park when we beat Brentford.
“It was fantastic when Town won, just like we did, and I hope they follow us by winning again in the final against Peterborough.”
Having settled in South Wales when he went to join Swansea in 2002, Reid will watch the Welsh club take on Reading in the Championship final at Wembley the day after Town’s big date at the Theatre of Dreams.
His son Billy, who is coming up to his 15th birthday, is keen to see the Swans go into the Premiership and, being a former player, Reid would love them to complete a Town-Swansea promotion double.
“Swansea play some cracking football and they are a joy to watch,” explained Reid, who also played for Leicester, Bradford, Oldham and Bury before heading to Wales.
“When you look at the size of some of the players they’ve got it makes you wonder how they can compete in a physical sense.
“But they don’t half pass and move the ball around, working it from the back and attacking really clinically.
“They’ve got good spirit too, and that comes through from the Town team as well.
“It always brings back memories when I see the team and the stadium on telly, and when my parents moved house in Birmingham recently, I picked up the scrapbook with all the cuttings and match reports from the Examiner, which are great to look through.
“I’ve got the video of the play-offs and the club video, too, and I always make people laugh when I tell them of the Neil Warnock rollickings – like the famous one at Shrewsbury when myself and Chris Billy got dragged off at half time.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Huddersfield Town, I’m obviously still in touch with Boothy (Andy Booth, inset) through the Masters football – although I don’t know how his knees keep standing up to it! – and it’s great to see them doing well.
“I would have loved to be going to Old Trafford for the final, but we live in Wales and are planning to go to Wembley the following day, so it will have to be an afternoon watching on the box.”
Reid played 77 times for Town and, while he played more matches for four of his other clubs, he says his days at the McAlpine Stadium (as it was then) are among the happiest of his career.
“When I see the place on the telly, I tell my son I scored at both ends of the ground and enjoyed some great times there with some real characters in the squad,” said the man who helped guide Port Talbot into this season’s Europa League competition (they lost to a team from Finland).
“I played almost all the games in the promotion season as well, before suffering a cartilage injury.
“Neil told me to go and play in a game at Sheffield Wednesday to “have a little run-out” but I ended up damaging my knee ligaments.
“It meant I missed the final league game against Birmingham City and the play-offs against Brentford and Bristol Rovers, but I can still remember the season very well and some of the goals I got, like against Leyton Orient in our first win at the stadium and one in the 5-1 win against Cardiff – that always goes down well here in Swansea!”
On the current side, Reid added: “I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen of them.
“They’ve got character, experience and guile and there’s that competitive edge which you always need as well.
“Lee Clark has got them working very well together and it will be a very interesting game, one which Town are more than capable of winning if they keep playing like they have been.”