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There is no place like the Lane
ST George’s Lane is a special place to play football and hopefully there will be plenty more nights like Monday before we leave next June.
We had more than 1,000 fans in the ground for the 1-0 FA Cup victory over Weston-super-Mare and the atmosphere was incredible.
Walking off the pitch in front of a large crowd was one of the best experiences of my career and I wanted the players to enjoy it.
Some of our youngsters, like Matt Sargeant, Jacob Rowe and Tyler Weir, won’t be used to that and it’s such an incentive to get through as many rounds as you can to experience more nights like that.
When they finish playing football, which for a lot of them will be many years from now, and reflect back then, if non-league is all they achieve, the lads won’t experience anything better than a game at the Lane after winning in front of a large crowd.
My first memory of the Lane was coming out of the tunnel for a match and, for some reason, the atmosphere seemed to be much better on a Monday night.
As the home player, it really gave you such a lift and, as an opponent, it must have been hostile.
Then, when you came off at the end of the game, all the supporters congregated around the tunnel and that was brilliant — those atmospheres were the best.
One in particular springs to mind in an FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay against Belper Town in 2001.
We had drawn the original game 2-2 and the replay was delayed due to crowd congestion.
But I remember we scored to go 3-0 up with about 20 minutes remaining and Darren Middleton ran into the crowd and took off someone’s hat for his celebration.
From that moment on, it was just a wall of noise and we went on to win 3-1 before meeting Rushden and Diamonds in the first round proper.
With this being our last season at the Lane, we will miss those nights but there are plenty more games to go yet and we need to maximise the memories for the supporters and players.
I would say to any City fan who has not been to the ground for a while to come back down because it will be too late next season and hopefully we can give them some good times in our last campaign there.
We have built and improved over the last three years and are now at a stage where there is a real buzz about the club, and that was the same last season as well.
When we played Gainsborough Trinity back in March, we scored two quick goals in the second-half and I thought the roof was going to come off the main stand.
That buzz has continued and it would be great to keep getting large crowds.
Saturday is non-league day and hopefully that will attract more fans to the Lane as we aim to continue our unbeaten home record against Stalybridge Celtic in Blue Square Bet North.