Jack Muldoon sums up what Harrogate Town's Wembley double means to players who have risen through the divisions
Jack Muldoon summed up what Harrogate Town’s Wembley double meant to the players at the club who have worked their way up the footballing pyramid from the depths of non-league.
The Sulphurites beat Concord Rangers 1-0 in the final of the 2019/20 FA Trophy on Bank Holiday Monday, following up August’s National League play-off final success over Notts County at the home of football.
The vast majority of the players involved in both of those showpiece fixtures had spent all or most of their senior careers operating below the fourth tier prior to last summer’s promotion to League Two, while eight of Monday’s match-day squad turned out for Town in National League North.
Muldoon himself started out at Brigg Town back in 2008 and featured for the likes of Sheffield FC and Glapwell before a hatful of goals for Worksop Town earned him a brief crack at the Football League with Rochdale in 2014.
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Success with Lincoln City followed upon his return to non-league before he moved to Harrogate via a year at AFC Fylde, but when he casts his mind back to where it all began, he is understandably thrilled with how things have panned out in recent years.
“I’m really proud,” said the 31-year-old, who has netted 14 goals so far during 2020/21.
“I was talking to my wife the other day about how at the start of my football journey I was at Brigg Town on £40 per week and I set myself a target. I said to myself if I make it to the Conference or I’m pushing League Two then I’ll die a happy man.
“I’ve succeeded in that and we’ve won twice at Wembley so days like this are very, very special.
“When you think back to 15 years ago when I was 16 and where I was then, it does feel unbelievable to have achieved these things. I also reckon that a lot of the boys here feel the same.”
Trips to Wembley might be starting to feel like norm now for Muldoon, but he admits he never had expectations of making it to the home of football even once when he signed on the dotted line for Simon Weaver.
He added:“When I first arrived at Harrogate Town did I expect to be making it to Wembley twice and getting promoted in the process? Did I heck.
“Obviously you set your stall out and aim for the play-offs and all that, you have to be ambitious, but you don’t necessarily expect to do it so quickly and go on and win two Wembley finals. But, the boys have stepped up and done it.
"It hasn't always been pretty this season, and it wasn't against Concord, but you have to realise the level you're playing at and we're very happy with how our first season as a League Two club has gone."