The day started at 2am as I found myself wide awake, in anticipation, struggling to get back to sleep after also failing to get in the early night I had initially planned. An insomnia, I later discovered, common to many others close to the club.
Charlie, another Golds fan, was also awake at 2am. Very awake, in fact. His journey to the game began in the South of France with Charlie even shortening his skiing trip to get behind the Golds. This day meant something.
After managing a few more hours of sleep, it was time to get into town. Restless, I couldn’t sit around at home and I wasn’t alone as I got into town early. The build up for the game in the high street was like nothing I’ve ever seen in Littlehampton before.
The spectacle peaked as hundreds marched together towards the ground, arms elevated and chanting to the beat of drums. It was booming. Gold, its primary colour.
We queued into the roads as we entered the ground, a town together, full of hope and belief but also a grounded mindset buried deep in the excitement.
I would have snapped up a 1-0 win at full-time... not knowing it would be 1-0 within the first minute of play. This was fairytale stuff. Then the second goal came, the third, the fourth… all remarkable goals in their own right while defensively they dealt with it all.
With The Sportsfield ecstatic and full to the brim, the Golds did not disappoint and they did it all in the signature entertaining and ruthless way we’ve witnessed all season. We couldn’t be prouder.
Many came away from their usual ‘big’ football teams and clubs to back our home team for this, getting behind our heroes in Gold. Everyone, from the faithful regulars to the newer fans thoroughly enjoyed the experience as children left chanting “Wembley, Wembley…”
Now a previously sleeping town has proven to be a town full of love for football, and is awake to what keeps regular visitors to the club coming back in.
Fierce, successful football is its recent draw but it’s our connection to our home town and genuine togetherness as townspeople that really made Saturday special and that’s what gets me back for games and hopefully now will get many more back. Those lads on the pitch led by local men gave us that and they fully deserve to go to the home of football in the capital.
It's the home of football where, for some fans and players, dreams can become a reality and the unthinkable can happen.
We’re the famous Littlehampton and we’re going to Wembley.