Newport County programme notes: Exiles story one to admire

When I arrived at the Weston Homes Community Stadium for the match against Colchester United on January 2, I could never have imagined how the next 12 months would pan out, wrote Murry Toms in our programme notes for the match against Newport County.

It’s a year I’ll look back on with a lot of pride, as should today’s visitors Newport County.

A month after the trip to Essex we welcomed the struggling Exiles to Whaddon Road, the day I turned 40 (I know, I don’t look a day over 60).

They were down but not quite out, and a win would have given us some breathing space at the foot of the table.

But a chap by the name of Jaanai Gordon salvaged a point with a last-gasp equaliser and they haven’t looked back.

The goal deep into injury time sparked a remarkable 12-game run that saw the Welsh side stay up against all the odds and reward the hugely impressive Michael Flynn with the manager’s job at his hometown club.

Now they’re flirting with the play- offs. It’s remarkable.

Then in the summer former chairman and lottery winner Les Scadding agreed to transfer his shareholding in the club to the Newport County AFC Supporters Trust.

In October the club became fan-owned after £236,000 was raised to complete the move with the vast majority coming from fans, bringing the feel- good factor to Rodney Parade.

What an amazing story and one I hugely admire. I’m sure they face many challenges but like the supporters (and co-owners) at Wycombe Wanderers and Exeter City I’m sure they wouldn’t have it any other way.

You only have to spend 90 minutes or so at a famous old club like Coventry City to see how badly it can go.

We’ve seen it even closer to home with our great rivals Gloucester City, who used to provide us with the festive period’s highlight on Boxing Day.

We’ve been talking to their Trust, crossing the divide to offer our help at a challenging time in their history. We’ll do whatever we can help to support them.

As Cheltenham supporters we can look back over the last 12 months with a great deal of pride and satisfaction with the way we have worked together to create some memorable moments.

None more so than seeing the legend ‘Churchy’ lead out the players to launch the new away strip in Aaron Downes’ shirt at the open day back in July.

For me it perfectly encapsulated the year, seeing the players and supporters coming closer together to really celebrate what it is to be involved with this club.

There’s plenty more to come but for now I think we can enjoy a well deserved pint.

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