In a new matchday programme feature, AFC Fylde stars and staff pick out their top five moments in football. First up, defender Simon Grand…
Rochdale’s Youngest Captain
I was only 18 and I had just broken into the Rochdale team that season.
The regular captain was injured and I got called down to the front of the bus on the way to a game and the manager told me I was going to be captain that day.
When I looked around the coach and saw the likes of Dave Flitcroft and Richard Jobson, it hit home and it was a very proud moment.
I’d only played about 20 games and it was a big game away at Rushden and Diamonds who were top of the table at the time.
I managed to score too so that stands out as my number one moment. I think it’s still a club record at Rochdale.
Back to back promotions
I’ll combine these as one. When we won back-to-back promotions with Carlisle United.
We went up through the play-offs in the Conference and then won League Two the following year!
Going up through the play-offs is an amazing experience but then to go and win the league the year after was very special. We did it with pretty much the same bunch of lads too.
I got a call up for England C when I was at Carlisle for a game against Holland. To represent your country at any level is a massive achievement and one that I look back on fondly.
The game was at Woking and Holland were a big physical side and it was a tough game but a great experience.
We won and I have the cap mounted in a box at home.
Cardiff Final Appearance
The year that we won the league at Carlisle we also got to the final of the LDV Vans Trophy.
I had played every game in the competition and had made an impact. I’d scored winning goals and winning penalties in shoot-outs and the final is one of the biggest occasions of my career.
It was at the Millennium Stadium and there were 42,000 fans there. We were beaten by Swansea in the end but they were a very good side on their way up.
More League Honours
I’ll go for winning the Conference North with Telford. It was a very special year for me for a number of reasons.
We won the league on the last day of the season and it was the year that my little one was born so she was there to see us lift the trophy.
My mum had been in a bad accident that year and she made a recovery to witness it on the final day too. I have won the league at Barrow and had other good seasons but that season, due to personal reasons, really stands out.