The Non-League Football Paper - - STEP 5 & 6 ACTION - By Matt Bad­cock

DAVE AN­DER­SON says Chert­sey Town fans can bor­row North­ern Ire­land’s ‘Dare to Dream’ slo­gan – but he won’t let his play­ers think of Wem­b­ley just yet.

The for­mer AFC Wim­ble­don and Har­row Bor­ough boss’ side are in the FA Vase’s last 16 fol­low­ing a 5-0 win over St Austell.

Now the Cur­fews have been paired with North West Coun­ties League side Ir­lam with a place in the quar­ter-fi­nals at stake.

An­der­son knows it’s at this stage that the arch starts to loom on the hori­zon – but he says they have to be re­al­is­tic with 15 other sides all des­per­ate to do the same.

“We’re a mil­lion miles from Wem­b­ley,” An­der­son, a reg­u­lar pun­dit on The Non-League Show, said. “Lis­ten, as you go up the moun­tain, the higher you go, the thin­ner the air gets.


“The one thing I’m com­fort­able with is I’ve got a squad who are ex­pe­ri­enced and have all played in big, big games. So they all un­der­stand what’s com­ing and that’s a ben­e­fit to us. But we won’t be tak­ing any­thing lightly that’s for sure.

“The Vase is a great ex­pe­ri­ence for any­one. I’ve been do­ing it 100 years and I’ve never gone to Ir­lam. I think it’s bril­liant.

“As I al­ways say, sup­port­ers dream but we should stay in the real world. It’s good for the sup­port­ers – they’re all sign­ing about go­ing to Wem­b­ley and that’s bril­liant. The North­ern Ire­land hash­tag is Dare to Dream! I might take that! That’s what you want to give the sup­port­ers but we also need to be re­al­is­tic with it, with­out be­ing bor­ing. We’ve got a cou­ple of big league games be­fore then and we’re still a mil­lion miles from Wem­b­ley.”

An­der­son says his play­ers de­serve plenty of praise for how they’ve at­tacked each chal­lenge this sea­son with his side top of the Com­bined Coun­ties League Premier divi­sion.


“We won 5-0 last week and it was prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit of an in­jus­tice to St Austell,” he said. “For half an hour it could have gone ei­ther way – they had a good penalty shout turned down and a goal given off­side, which was tight, but to be fair to the of­fi­cials I thought they were ex­cel­lent on the day.

“At 0-0 it was a re­ally open game. We scored two goals quickly be­fore half-time and what we’ve done as games have gone on is look fit­ter. We’ve got pace at the top end of the field and we do score in the last half-hour of games.

“But they’ve got a great ap­petite. We’re on a very good run in the league, we just beat Sut­ton in the county cup and we’re still in the league cup – we’re in ev­ery­thing but the Christ­mas raf­fle!”

An­der­son looked set to re­tire from the dugout but was lured back for one more chal­lenge at the back end of last sea­son be­fore agree­ing to stay on.

It seems to be a good de­ci­sion with just two de­feats in 30 games since to put a smile on his face – sort of !

“Peo­ple talk about bud­gets and I think there’s a lot of un­truths be­ing bandied about,” An­der­son said. “I never mind it be­cause I feel that if that’s how they’re re­act­ing then we’re get­ting into their heads. Our bud­get is good for the level, but not ex­ces­sive.

“I’ve been do­ing it a long time and this dress­ing room is as to­gether as any I’ve ever had. I’ll tell you how good it is – I’ve nearly en­joyed it!”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Dave An­der­son is fully fo­cused on tak­ing Chert­sey all the way to Wem­b­ley

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