Morpeth Town FC chairman Ken Beattie paid tribute to the players, management and fans following the club’s victory in the final of the FA Vase.
He was speaking in the Market Place this afternoon shortly after the team coach had parked up there to greet a crowd of people, many of whom had watched the game at Wembley yesterday.
The Highway Men beat Hereford FC 4-1 with goals from Chris Swailes, Luke Carr, Sean Taylor and Shaun Bell.
Ken said: “What we’ve done is gradually sinking in – it’s an unbelievable achievement.
“I feared the worst when Hereford took the lead in the second minute and we were nervous in the early stages, but our players’ response was magnificent.
“In the second half, we came out all guns blazing, got the early goal and played our football to control the game.
“The substitutes all made an important contribution. Shaun Bell scored, Steven Anderson played the ball through to him and Damen Mullen made a great headed clearance off the line.
“We have a great squad and I felt gutted for the players who missed out. It was nothing against them, the line-up was what our management team felt would work best on the day.
“Nick Gray and co-manager Dave Malone are hard workers and diligent with their tactics. Hereford were watched five or six times before the final and the game plan came off.
“It was amazing to see thousands of people in the stands cheering the lads on. The support was fantastic and there was a great atmosphere when we met up with some of them in the Morpeth Arms near Westminster on Saturday.
“We have to cement this now and go again next season aiming for the Northern League Division One title and Wembley again.
“We will look to develop the camaraderie that we’ve built up with the people of Morpeth and it will be great to formally bring Morpeth Sporting Club on board. The young players have given us fantastic support all season.”
He added that the officials at Wembley were ‘out of this world’ and he was full of praise for Hereford manager Peter Beadle and chairman Jon Hale.
Jonathan Richardson and his dad Dave were at the game and they were there to greet the players in the Market Place.
Dave said: “It was a fantastic day and the result was beyond our wildest dreams.
“The lads played very well and they ran their socks off. My man-of-the-match was Ben Sayer, he was phenomenal.
Jonathan’s mum Joan Richardson was cheering on the team from home. She said: “The pundits were all focusing on Hereford, but Morpeth showed everyone at Wembley who was the better team.”
Morpeth Town FC fan Colin Harvey said winning the FA Vase ‘still feels surreal’.
He added: “It was great to be there and it was an amazing achievement to win 4-1.
“Hopefully, this will lead to bigger crowds next season and we’ll be challenging for the league title.
“The club has been through some hard times and that makes this success even sweeter.”
James Martin said: “The match was live on BT Sport, so it was great for the profile of Morpeth.”
Ian Thomson was among those who travelled to the game on the supporters’ coaches.
He said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day. It felt like 1,000 miles on the way down and only two miles on the way back.
“For a town of this size, it’s an amazing achievement. The atmosphere among the fans in the stadium was brilliant.
“It’s great that the players, coaches and officials from the club have come to the Market Place this afternoon to meet us.”