Our last home game seems ages ago, a month to be exact, when we hosted Stafford Town and ran away comfortable 3-0 winners. Since then the season has been plagued by atrocious weather conditions which has seen our home game against Studley and our away matches against Uttoxeter Town, Littleton and Coventry Copsewood postponed.
Looking back on the victory over Stafford and the subsequent 2-2 draw at Brocton it’s fair to say that it shows how far this club has come in such a short space of time, that I was disappointed to only pick up a point at Brocton! Following our promotion last year I would’ve bitten your hand off to be safe from relegation with 11 games to go and that’s exactly where we find ourselves. The challenge is to now try and finish as high up the table as possible and hopefully we can sneak into one of those FA Cup spots. Since Paget restarted competitive football in the 2012/13 season we have risen up five divisions and we have won two cups along the way. Much like the original club we have made a flying start and we are now building solid foundations so that as we celebrate 80 years of Paget in 2018, we have another 80 years of Paget to look forward to.
Saturday will be a special day in the history of Paget as we host our first annual Paget Rangers reunion and it is my honour to welcome many familiar faces from the past back to the club. Former players, officials, volunteers, management and supporters are all here today and I truly hope you like what you see, I hope that you can see that the spirit of the old Paget club is very much still alive and I hope that you enjoy your time with us today and become re-engaged in this fantastic football club. We want to do right by the great Paget names of the past, the Ron Timmings’, the Eddie Caulfield’s, the Derek Culling’s, the Fred Shepherd’s and the George Brain’s. These people helped build Paget Rangers in the past and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have had a club to support as a child, a club I always dreamed one day I would be chairman of.
When Paget folded I always wanted to bring it back – and I am glad to say that I did, alongside the help from my mum Heather and my uncle John, as well as the numerous friends and committee members who have helped to rebuild Paget in such a short space of time.
Paget Rangers as a football club was always one that had tremendous spirit. Reading about the formation of the club, the junior cup successes, winning the quadruple in 1960 and the double in 1970, the club’s spirit always shone through. I remember myself the spirit of the team of the 1990s, winning the inaugural Midland Football Alliance and going to Nuneaton Borough in front of over 1,000 fans and beating them on their own patch. Stuart Tucker, Ian Paul, Richard Brown and Trevor Burroughs, these were my footballing heroes growing up. Who needed the Premier League and Sky Sports? At school, friends would ask me – ‘who do you support?’, ‘Paget!’, I would beam in response. ‘You can support your Villa’s, Blues’ and Man United’s if you like, but I get to travel on the team coach to my team’s away games!’.
And travel on the team coach to away games we did. To King’s Lynn on the Saturday before Christmas as Paget sat top of the Southern League Midland Division. To Wroxham in the FA Cup and to Ilkeston Town where we got lost along the way. One club, one family, all in it together battling against the odds, as ‘little old Paget’ fought and beat the big guns at their own game.
This is the mentality and spirit I am pleased to say that the current Paget club possesses. Everyone here is pulling in the same direction, the team is united as one and our small but loyal bunch of supporters still travel on the team coach to the long distance away games.
Never more was the Paget spirit evident than in last season’s tremendous double triumph. If the run in the FA Vase wasn’t good enough, with memorable scalps along the way, you couldn’t have written a more nerve-wracking script for those final two games! Win against Coton Green and we are up, lose or draw and its 3rd place and another season in Division 2. 2-1up with one minute to go and they (Coton) decide to send their keeper up for a corner, thankfully the resulting shot went narrowly wide! Then to the Les James (formerly Midland Combination) Challenge Cup final at Bescot. 1-1 in the last minute and a cross from Craig Gasiewski is headed into the net by Danny Carter to give Paget victory! A 6th club success in that competition. We like to do things the hard way!
At that brings us to Saturday, a time to remember the good old times, to laugh, to joke, to reminisce, to meet old friends (and some new ones), to share in a common love and passion for Paget Rangers and to watch and cheer, the new Paget side, the side born from the Club of old and a side with the same ambitions that the old Paget always had. To, by honest endeavour, be the best club we can be, to continue beating the odds and to continue punching above our weight. To those visiting us for the first time since we reformed I hope you have an enjoyable day, don’t be a stranger, be a Bear and join us in the ever-crazy world of non-league football.
COME ON YOU BEARS!
Updated 00:00 - 24 Mar 2018 by Web Master