By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC chairman Brian Shotton spoke about being overawed and quite emotional after the Colliers had progressed to the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 3-0 win in their replay against Stocksbridge Park Steels on Tuesday evening.

Mr Shotton said afterwards: “I’m actually quite speechless about the whole night to be honest. I’m also a bit overawed by it and emotional because after being on such a long journey, it feels like the club are well and truly on the right road now. To see 1,424 people from Ashington at a game at Woodhorn Lane and then to progress after a blood and thunder FA Cup tie, I’m more than touched by it all. Yes I’m delighted but really I’m a bit of a softie so I’ll probably have a few tears later on tonight. As people know, I absolutely love this football club and I can’t say anything more positive about the team; the lads that are in that team; the people who help and the people who come along and watch us. We are a special club and one who are really on the up.”

Mr Shotton – who started supporting the club as a 12 year old on the terraces at the former Portland Park ground – continued: “When I took over as chairman four years ago, I said I didn’t want the club to stand still. We did have a period of regression but you have to have the hard days to have the good days and these are certainly good days at the moment. We’ve still got our league games to play – we are back on duty on Saturday (at home to Tow Law) – and I’d like to think that a percentage of the crowd will come back and watch us because what is happening here is special. It’s unbelievable to see the town of Ashington get behind the club; we deserve it; the players deserve it and the people who work hard here deserve it too.”

Mr Shotton, 38, gave a special mention to manager Ian Skinner: “I’m delighted for Ian Skinner who wasn’t able to be here tonight and I’d like to pay tribute to him because he’s done a really unbelievable job at this football club. Again along with myself and others, Ian faced a lot of tough moments and he deserves to enjoy the good times as well.”

Ashington now have a trip to face King’s Lynn in the next round of the competition on Saturday week (October 15) and Mr Shotton added: “It is obviously going to be really tough. The lads have come through adversity against higher level opposition in the last three rounds but it’s a cup game and anything can happen on the day.”