_ As the February freeze continues, Mansfield Matters’ Scott Rogers recalls one of his favourite moments as a Mansfield Town Fan...
Saturday 7th May 2011, The day every football fan dreams of, it’s like our version of Christmas, you wait weeks for it to come.
All that excitement all those nerves, all for one day and all for one thing; watching your team in a cup final at Wembley Stadium.
No other day in my life has ever come close to that day, for the past few years supporting Mansfield had been nothing but hard work with nothing but disappointment. Watching something you love so much being so close to the end hurts like nothing else I have ever felt, but still nothing could keep me away.
Looking back on the best day of my life, for one day Mansfield Town were equals, not non-league nobody’s, not the club with a landlord trying to ruin things – for one day we were cup finalists, Wembley Stadium cup finalists!
Waking up on the morning of the final I was so nervous, I had told myself I was going to enjoy the game and enjoy the day, there was no promotion at stake unlike Cardiff in 04, but there was something that no trophy can give you, being able to say you’ve seen your team win at Wembley!
After the defeat at the millennium stadium a few years before, we knew what the pain of losing in one of these games felt like, that made me more hungry for success.
The journey down was unbelievable, seeing thousands of Mansfield fans on the motorway and at service stations made me so proud why? Because for once Mansfield Town were finally the talk of the town. Granted it may have only for one day but atleast the town was together and everyone wanted their football team to be a success, people were finally proud of their club.
The buzz around the pubs before the game was amazing, Mansfield songs bellowing loudly around the streets of London, this was usually Man United or Chelsea but for one day, for my special day, it was my Mansfield Town.
I was thinking about what my best memory from the day was, there are so many but it has to be the walk down Wembley way. How can a few hundred feet of tarmac with a wall up each side hold so many memories? Simple, it was what was inside it. All I could see was a sea of amber and blue, thousands upon thousands of Mansfield fans strolled around, all proud to wear its town’s colours and as I stood outside the greatest theatre in the World I knew the moment had arrived.
All the weeks of waiting were over, I was about to begin my walk down Wembley way walking shoulder to shoulder with people with the same dream, to see their team win and to see their team become heroes.
Inside, the stadium was amazing and the pitch looked perfect, as it slowly started to fill with Mansfield fans it looked even better, my dream had arrived and 15,000 Mansfield fans were about to enjoy it with me.
The National anthem was another thing I had dreamed about, standing inside the best stadium in the World, the home of football, singing my countries national anthem; I have never been so proud.
The game itself passed far too quickly, all I remember from the game is two things. The first is something that I never want to forget, just as the end of extra time approached the Mansfield fans stood together as one and sang “Stand up for the Mansfield”
Yeah the game wasn’t a great one but the town were still together and proud of what they had seen and this was them thanking their heroes for what they had done for the club and the town. The second thing is something we all really want to forget; Chris Senior heading home from a couple of yards out, 15,000 hearts broken, all I could do was cry. Travelling all this way from Worksop, our opponents in round one, to the last minute of extra time at a Wembley cup final. We had been through every emotion on the way and for it to end the way it did was horrible.
The day itself I will always remember, firstly for it being the day I completed a dream, secondly for it being a day that Mansfield Town were back even, if it was only for a couple of hours.
We may have lost the game but the true Mansfield fans gained a memory, never to be forgotten or ruined, never to be taken away by anyone – no matter how hard they tried. The result, looking back, didn’t really matter. Mansfield Town had done us proud.
The day helped again to reiterate my belief that no matter what stands in our way, we will stand proud and never back down, we are Mansfield Town, and nothing will ever make me more proud than being able to say that.
We will be back.
The views expressed in this piece are that of the writer and not of Mansfield Matters or it’s related organisations. If you would like to share one of your favourite moments with us, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org