Stansted FC are Essex Senior League champions
Stansted 4 Bowers & Pitsea 0 STANSTED FC are champions of the Essex Senior League for the first time in their history. The Airportmen s 4-0 victory over Bowers & Pitsea on Saturday gave them the title after 39 years of trying, with a game sti
Bowers & Pitsea 0
STANSTED FC are champions of the Essex Senior League for the first time in their history.
The Airportmen's 4-0 victory over Bowers & Pitsea on Saturday gave them the title after 39 years of trying, with a game still to play.
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It caps a remarkable turnaround for the Airportmen who had finished bottom of the table for two years running and were the whipping boys of the division when Terry Spillane took over as manager in February 2007.
Saturday was an emotional day for all at Hargrave Park and none more so than chairman Terry Shoebridge who has seen the club through some tough times since they won the FA Vase in 1984.
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He said: "I feel absolutely brilliant and I was speechless on Saturday. We have tried so hard to get this and it has all come together at the right time.
"It feels too good to be true. I thought we would need another year, but they have proved everyone wrong.
"I'm so delighted for everyone at the club, especially all those who have put so much effort in over the last few years. It's such a good achievement for a club like ours and I can't put into words how much it means to everyone."
Many other sides in the league have big budgets as they look to get into the Ryman League which makes Stansted's achievement even more impressive.
"We have been paying expenses only since December whereas others are throwing money around," said Shoebridge. "To do it on a shoestring budget makes it even sweeter.
"From where we were three years ago when we were the laughing stock of the league, Terry has built up a really strong squad that everyone respects.
"It's the best team we had here since the Vase days and I don't know how he has done it with the money we have spent. The season has been absolutely brilliant."
Manager Terry Spillane could not hide his delight and has high hopes for the future.
He said: "It feels great and I can't describe the emotion on Saturday. We have had a great season and it's probably a season earlier than I expected when I came to the club three years ago.
"It's the biggest achievement since I've been in football. I know it's not the World Cup, but it's my World Cup.
"Terry Shoebridge gave me my chance three years ago and I think it's fair to say the team and I have paid him back.
"I have already thought about next season and I would love to keep the squad together and get the ground sorted so we can target the Ryman League."
Stansted got off to a superb start at Hargrave Park on Saturday as Dwight Gayle eased any nerves with two goals in the first 13 minutes.
Bowers then had a player sent off for two yellow cards and just before half-time Vinny Durrant also found the net. Danny Hopkins sealed the victory and the league title for Stansted after 74 minutes.
- On Tuesday the newly-crowned champions finished their season with a 3-1 win at Basildon.
Dwight Gayle fired in a brace and Lewis Dark was also on target, but Stansted were left disappointed as they finished the campaign agonisingly short of 100 goals on 99.