Ian Westlake hailed the community spirit within Needham Market after their FA Cup run came to an end against Cambridge United.
In what proved a record-breaking day for the club in front of a crowd of 1784, the Marketmen fell agonisingly short of a replay against their Skrill Conference Premier Division opponents, following Adam Cunnington’s 80th-minute winner.
But despite missing out on a trip to Sky Bet league Two side Bury in the first round proper, Westlake hailed a magnificent day for the club and paid tribute to the people involved, for whom it meant so much.
“Ultimately the whole day was brilliant for the fans and amazing for all the people involved in the club,” he said.
“That’s who this was for, all those people do so much and, although we couldn’t get the win for them, we certainly didn’t let them down.
“For us, this game was massive because the involvement of the fans is so great here and they got the enjoyment out of it.
“You don’t get that at the bigger clubs, the staff get paid, it’s their jobs and they go home whereas here the people who put their heart and soul into the club also come to enjoy the game as fans and that is what is special.
“I’m really proud of everyone at this club and really it was a big well done to Needham.
“So many people came, it was so well organised and it was a magnificent day, the club is certainly going places.”
One place Needham could find themselves going come the end of the season is the Ryman League Premier Division should they achieve their aim of promotion.
Ahead of trip to Harlow Town tomorrow (3pm), the Marketmen sit 10th, three points off the play-off places in Division One North after a positive start to the season.
With the momentum of their history-making cup run, the former Ipswich Town midfielder is confident his side can fulfil their aim of securing promotion.
“We played well, did ourselves proud and I don’t think the final score was justified,” he added. “However, we can take a lot out of the game and our season so far looking ahead.
“We have an important game at the weekend and we need to get to winning ways.
“All we want is promotion now so it is on to the next one where we can hopefully stay on track.”