LAST Sunday Dorchester Town player-coach Mark Jermyn used the ESPN cameras to tell his boss at the insurance firm where he works that he might be nursing a sore head the following morning.
For once, it was nothing to do with an injury picked up at football, like the previous week when he’d gone to hospital with a suspected fractured cheekbone after a Blue Square Bet South defeat to Tonbridge Angels.
This time the headache would be alcohol-induced, and deservedly so after setting up the goal that took Town past League Two side Plymouth Argyle and into the FA Cup second round in their first-ever live TV game.
And the 31-year-old Magpies stalwart had a few pleasant surprises of his own when he arrived for his shift at Liverpool Victoria’s Bournemouth HQ a few hours later.
“I had to work at 8am the following day and I knew it would be a night to remember,” says Jermyn. “The drinks were flowing at the club and then my girlfriend Carly and I went for an Indian in Ashley Cross, near to where we live, with one of the lads and his missus, so we didn’t get in until about midnight.
“But I made it in and I’d got so many nice emails and text messages waiting for me. A couple of the big directors and heads of department, some who I hadn’t even spoken to before, emailed me to say congratulations, and it’s been over- whelming.
“The amount of people who take notice, especially because it’s local football, is amazing. They look out for you and try to support you as much as they can because they know you are normal people.”
Normality for Jermyn since he was released by Torquay 12 years ago has been work at LV, then a 40-minute drive to Dorchester every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
He currently juggles those commitments with a plumbing apprenticeship, studying at college and learning on the job two days every week.
“It’s all a bit manic at the minute, but I’m really enjoying it,” says the man who has played in virtually every position for the Magpies in more than 551 appearances, but is currently starring at right-back as he closes in on Trevor Townsend’s club record of 585.
He continues: “I was just talking to the guy who takes me out plumbing, and I said to him about how I started off at Torquay, and when I left there, probably because I was a bit naive at the time, I never wrote off to clubs and tried to go trialling.
“I just thought that I wasn’t going to be a professional footballer, so I’d go and see what I can do elsewhere. I signed for Dorchester at the same time as I joined Liverpool Victoria and I’ve really enjoyed my life as a part-time footballer.
“I’ve had some good achievements out of it. I was lucky enough to get a testimonial against Portsmouth, we won the Southern League Eastern Division and then the play-off to qualify for the Conference South at the time of restructuring, so as a Non-League footballer I have achieved some good things.
“Sunday has to be the highlight so far though because it was such an unexpected achievement.
“The reason I didn’t book off the day off was because I thought it was going to be a great day, but the best I dared hope for was another good day out at Home Park in a replay.
“So to win was pretty crazy. After the game I was running around clapping the fans because I really didn’t know what to do with myself! It was weird. You are running around thinking: ‘?What am I doing?’
“At one point, I even went down the other end and clapped the Argyle fans because fair play to them, they stood and supported their team when it was raining, they were brilliant.
“But when I came up the other end I saw my parents and then it hits you. Your mum says: ‘I’m so proud of you’, your girlfriend’s the same, and then it just gets to you and you think: ‘Oh my God!’ It was brilliant.”
A second round trip to Luton or Nuneaton Town awaits, with the BSB Premier rivals meeting in their replay at Nuneaton on Tuesday.
Jermyn rates either all-Non-League tie as a win-win situation for Dorchester; Boro struggling just a few places above his team in the Pyramid, and the Hatters presenting an opportunity to play at Kenilworth Road in front of a bigger crowd than the 3,196 present last week.
His feet are grounded, but those work colleagues are already helping him dream of the big boys coming in to round three.
“That would be crazy, but before the Plymouth game I said to my friends at work: ‘You wait, we’ll be playing at Stamford Bridge soon’. They thought we were miles away from it, but I explained we were only two games away.
“We won the first of those matches, so everybody was buzzing in the office and saying ‘Oh my God, you’re so close now to getting a big team’.
“You never know, and I wouldn’t mind a nice big London club because that way you get to go out afterwards and enjoy it properly!”
If the Avenue Stadium legend’s Cup dream runs into the New Year, it’s safe to assume the 2013 annual leave calendar will be missing a couple of days early on!