Pic: Will Kilpatrick
NOT everyone involved with Spennymoor Town is thrilled with the club’s promotion – midfielder Jamie Chandler’s girlfriend isn’t best pleased!
That’s because after winning the Evo-Stik NPL Premier play-offs two weeks ago, generous chairman Bradley Groves is flying the entire squad to party hot spot Marbella to celebrate.
Chandler’s partner Amy is suitably unimpressed about a week of drinking and perhaps concerned that her boyfriend will be a spectacle of himself, has already made her feelings known!
“The news has gone down like a lead balloon if I’m being honest,” laughed the midfield man. “It’s been a real struggle – she is not happy at all!
“But as I’ve told her, I’m getting on now. I’m 28, one of the elder statesmen of the team. It’s really hit home actually now as I’ve always considered myself one of the young players.
“The moment it dawned on me was when we were training this season and we had a little five-a-side – young versus old. I was shuffled onto the old team. I’ve not recovered since!”
He added: “So she can rest assured I’ll be on my best behaviour in Marbella. The chairman is fantastic and it will be a great trip. It’s a fantastic reward for the lads for everything we’ve achieved this season.”
Spennymoor were playing in Step 6 just seven years ago, when manager Jason Ainsley took over the team halfway up the Northern League table.
Well-funded yes, but almost relentless promotions ever since, the narrow 1-0 win over Stourbridge means they will be dining at the same table as Stockport County, York City and Chandler’s former club Darlington come August.
“It’s incredible when you think about it,” he said. “The gaffer mentioned it in the dressing room, how far the club has come and what it would mean to go up again.
“Next season is going to be great. There are so many big, big clubs in that league.
“To be honest when I took a step out of the pro game with my coaching at Sunderland the one thing I was going to miss most were the big away days with four or five thousand people in great grounds.
“Now I’ll be getting those days back – I’ll have fans screaming at me and abusing me again and I can’t wait!”
Chandler says there was pressure on his side to win promotion, despite their rise through the leagues in recent years.
“We signed some good players in the close season, James Curtis from Gateshead and Rob Ramshaw – people were talking us up and we had to follow that up. There was a lot of pressure on us.
“We let Blyth Spartans pull away and we shouldn’t have, it would have been a real disappointment if we couldn’t have got ourselves up.
“I think we deserve it in the end. The final we dominated until late on when they had two chances, which our goalkeeper (Dan Lowson) did brilliantly to keep them out.
“The gaffer was right what he said in the paper, they were big moments for us but I do think we were the better side, we knew we had to hang on and get promotion even if it was through digging in.
“We did it, so happy days. Now we’re off to Marbella to have a few lemonades and a sunbathe!”