By Alec McQuarrie
Coalville Wetherspoons will be packed to the rafters if Adam Stevens can lead his side to an unforgettable giant-killing against Charlton in the FA Cup.
After masterminding a dramatic 3-2 win over Notts County - a club two leagues above them - the Pitching In Southern Central side headed back to The Monkey Walk for a heroes’ welcome.
And if the Ravens emerge victorious from their capital clash with the League One giants, the former coal-mining town will be hosting the party of the century.
Approximately 3,000 fans are expected to make the trip to the Valley having sung their hearts out all game at Meadow Lane before a late Luke Shaw winner sent them into raptures.
“Oh gosh - it was scenes,” remembers Stevens. “I must say you end up in dreamland and the fans, wow.
“Notts County were saying the fans were probably the noisiest they’d seen down there. There were so many of them. It was literally like a Football League game.
Our first official ticket update from Charlton Athletic confirms we have sold 1,483 tickets so far!
What an effort despite all the travel disruptions 👏🖤 pic.twitter.com/flEhzk1qcb
— Coalville Town FC (@CoalvilleTownFC) November 1, 2022
“After the game we went into our local Wetherspoons in Coalville and the pub was absolutely bouncing when we walked in with all the fans.
“It was such an enjoyable night not just for the players, staff and chairman, but for the general people in the town.
“A thriving football club is always good for the economy for pubs and everything and Coalville is an old coal mining town.
“It’s great to be put on the map because a lot of people haven’t got a clue where Coalville is or what it’s about.”
Coalville-local Stevens, in his second spell as Ravens manager, knows exactly what it’s like to create history, having played in the First Round tie against Wycombe back in 2004.
That was the first time Coalville had made it through the Emirates FA Cup qualifying rounds, and the Notts County win is up there with Stevens greatest feats as a manager or player.
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“It’s brilliant really to do that as a player and as a manager, plus we’ve been living here as well,” said Stevens.
“It’s definitely one of the best achievements in my career. To go there away from home and to win is unbelievable and then obviously to go to Charlton is something else.”
And Stevens railed against the idea that the FA Cup has supposedly lost its magic, with clubs like Coalville the living, beating heart of the world’s oldest tournament.
“For me, there’s no better cup competition in the world,” insisted Stevens.
“You can see what it means to us and I’m one of those old school ones who was brought up on the FA Cup and the road to Wembley as a kid. For us, it’s massive moments really.
“Unfortunately, how the Premier League and the top levels have become this massive business world, which has detracted from working class fans that our game is now attracting.”
Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/