05:00PM, Thursday 11 May 2017
An inflatable trophy was all Maidenhead United’s victorious players could get their hands on after clinching the league at Margate, but on Saturday they’ll get to raise the real thing aloft.
Two weeks on from arguably the biggest moment in the club’s 147-year history, the National League South winners will tour the town aboard an open top bus before receiving their prize at the town’s newly built amphitheatre.
Assistant manager Sam Lock said while the players were disappointed not to receive their trophy after the full-time whistle at Hartsdown Park, the ceremony gave them the opportunity to share their success with the whole of the town.
“We had amazing support at Margate and I couldn’t believe the number of people that travelled,” Lock said.
“But Saturday will be a fantastic opportunity for the town, the squad and the supporters to celebrate together.
“It’s important that we enjoy the day. We can’t worry about the past or the future so we just need to enjoy the occasion with everyone.”
A clutch of players have already pledged their future to the club for its maiden season in the National League, including defenders Dean Inman and Alan Massey.
Inman, 26, played a significant part in helping the Magpies deliver 20 clean sheets in the league this season and he said he is relishing the chance to test himself against the Non-League’s top marksmen.
He said: “After the last game of the season the gaffer rang me on the Tuesday and it was a call I was really hoping for.
“It will be a good experience and I’m more than confident I can hold my own.
“I don’t go game to game fearing strikers but I know that the players are going to be another step up from what I’ve faced this season and I’m looking forward to testing myself.”
Trips to established Football League clubs including Leyton Orient, Hartlepool United and possibly even Tranmere Rovers are just some of the fixtures Inman can now look forward to next season.
He added: “I’ve been battling relegation mostly before I joined Maidenhead so I’ve not really experienced anything like this.
“To go and play against the likes of Leyton Orient at York Road, who were pushing for the Championship a few seasons ago, is just amazing.”
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