By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC boss Ian Skinner has exclusively revealed a message which was said to the players in the dressing room at half time of their prestigious Inter step play off final against Glossop North End on Saturday.

The Colliers bossed the game from start to finish and were worthy 3-0 winners with skipper Ben Harmison scoring a brace plus one from Craig Spooner.

The Wansbeck side led 1-0 at the interval and Skinner said afterwards: “We said to the lads at half time ‘Listen you have got an opportunity here to make life long memories which you can talk about for the rest of your life. You will go down in history in getting the football club out of the Northern League for the first time in 55 years so if you get the job done, embrace it and enjoy it – but I think the only person who hasn’t done that so far is myself!”

For the match preparations, Ashington were informed on Wednesday of their Derbyshire-based opponents Glossop North End and Skinner said: “It wasn’t about being able to watch them (Glossop) or tactics or about how they played – it was about our group of players going out there on the pitch and achieving what we set out to achieve on the first day of the season. They take the biggest credit and they should be lauded for what they have achieved.”

Since Brian Shotton took over the reins as chairman at Woodhorn Lane four years ago there has been an amazing transformation at the club and Skinner said: “I remember Brian Shotton giving me a ring and asking if I could help out – and I ended up in the dugout somehow! We can now look back to when we went into the last days of the season maybes looking for points to finish fourth bottom and staying the first division – to coming to Glossop today for our last game of the campaign knowing that if we got a positive result then we would be promoted! Where this club were four years ago when the chairman (Brian Shotton) took over and where the club is now, the turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable.”

Skinner also had a word to say to the club’s supporters: “If I had a little message for them it would be: “We’ll need equally as many and more of them next season because it’ll be tough. Obviously we are stepping up a league and I’m not wanting to dampen spirits so soon after the final whistle today (at Glossop) but we’ll need the fans to stick with us and keep coming in their numbers to help the club move forward – and I’m sure they will do that.”

He concluded: “I’m going to enjoy a rest now – but no doubt I’ll wake up and the hard work will start again!” *Meanwhile just before the Ashington team coach set off on their homeward journey, there was a nice touch when Glossop chairman Dave Atkinson stepped onboard and wished the Colliers ‘all the best’ for the future.