Harrogate Town's second Wembley date is for our fans, says Simon Weaver

Simon Weaver says he is “ecstatic” that Harrogate Town’s supporters now have a day out at Wembley to look forward to.

Simon Weaver, right, celebrates with James Belshaw at Wembley Stadium following Harrogate Town's National League play-off final win over Notts County. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Simon Weaver, right, celebrates with James Belshaw at Wembley Stadium following Harrogate Town's National League play-off final win over Notts County. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The Wetherby Road outfit’s fans missed last month’s historic National League play-off final win over Notts County at the home of football due to Covid-19 social distancing measures, which prohibit spectators from entering sporting arenas.

But, Tuesday evening’s FA Trophy semi-final success against the Magpies means that Town are heading to Wembley again, with the competition’s final not set to take place until it is possible for at least some supporters to attend.

“I’m delighted for the fans, I’m absolutely ecstatic that they’re going to get the chance to come to Wembley with us,” Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

Harrogate Town enjoy Tuesday's FA Trophy semi-final success over Notts County in the Meadow Lane changing rooms.

“Obviously I’m pleased for everyone involved with the club. It’s fantastic for the players, it’s a real thrill to have that prospect of getting on a bus once again and heading down to Wembley, but we’ve been already.

“The supporters missed out on sharing an experience with us that we won’t forget for the rest of our lives. This time, they’ve got the chance to get on a bus and make that trip as well.

“I just hope that the FA stick to their guns and that they do what they said they would do and wait until it is safe for spectators to return to play the final.”

Weaver resisted the temptation to rest players or rotate his squad for Tueday’s semi-final showdown at Meadow Lane, a match which Town won 1-0 courtesy of Will Smith’s 45th-minute header.

And, so desperate was he to be able to give the club’s supporters a taste of a Wembley final, that he even used them as a motivating factor in his pre-match team-talk.

“I said to the lads, ‘this night is all about making sure we get to Wembley for a second time, don’t forget about those fans,’” he added.

“I told them that we’ve been given this chance to go there again, an amazing opportunity and the kind that doesn’t come around too often, so let’s make sure we win this game. Do it four ourselves, but do it for the supporters too, because we know it will mean so much to them.”

Harrogate’s FA Trophy final appearance follows on from their play-off final win, a penalty shoot-out success over Tranmere Rovers on their League Cup debut and the 4-0 rout of Southend United in their first-ever League Two outing.

“There have been so many firsts, so many special moments recently,” Weaver said.

“We’ve made a lot of history, it’s quite incredible really and it’s fantastic to be involved in such a memorable time for the football club.”

Town return to League Two action on Saturday when they visit Port Vale, 3pm kick-off.