Well, it’s been 24 hours now, so it’s clear yesterday wasn’t a dream – but a dream come true.
When I took over the club (two weeks off three years ago), we were in a great position of effectively being a Cymru Premier side once again, and on a sound footing financially. I have huge respect for the previous Chairman, David Hughes, and his Board for their years of selfless hard work, because without them I would not be here.
Haverfordwest County was described to me as a sleeping giant by anybody I asked about the club, and it convinced me that I wanted this challenge. Not just a challenge of running a football club, but openly wanting to take this club back to Europe for the only the second time in its 125-year history. Oh, and do it within three years.
Yes it was bold, but did I really think I could do it? Absolutely. No, but did I deep down really think I could do it? Absolutely. But did I really think I could do it on my own? Absolutely not! What I needed was a group of honest, hardworking, ambitious and like-minded people. I inherited a lot, and found some more. From top to bottom, on and off the pitch, from first team to academy, and most importantly in the proverbial board room, we have the most incredible group of people at this football club, and none of what we have achieved in the last three years would have been possible without every single person, past and present.
The coaching team and players have to take a huge amount of the credit for the achievement, as when the whistle blows, the rest of us are helpless. I have been extremely lucky to have been able to work with some fantastic coaches. Wayne Jones bought in to the vision and got us believing, Nicky Hayen took a punt on us (as we took a punt on him) and continued to help drive us forward in a number of ways, and Tony Pennock took us further still – with Gary ‘Waggy’ Richards alongside all three of them – to the point where our collective vision was realised and history was made. My respect for all four is huge, but I am so delighted for Tony to come in and help us achieve what we have done in just his first season, with the challenges and rollercoaster of ups and downs that seem to follow this club.
The players have given everything, not moreso than the last two weekends. To play 120 minutes, away from home, against sides above us, and go through the drama of penalties and come through victorious shows the desire and belief instilled in to them, but also real grit and fortitude. Everybody has talked about the 2003-04 European squad, and rightly so, as that was a fantastic side. I am certain though that people will speak about this side for at the least the next two decades also. They are all heroes.
I know now, though, I want this feeling year on year, and that with success comes expectations, so as of tomorrow the planning for Europe starts, alongside another Cymru Premier campaign. It’s going to be a busier summer than ever for us, and I really can’t wait.
This is the beginning of what I hope will be another extremely exciting and successful chapter in the club’s history.
Thank you to everyone inside the club, along with our amazing fans and loyal sponsors and partners for believing in us.
WE did it 💙