Stamford AFC were relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League last night (April 20) without even kicking a ball.
Mickleover Sports drew 1-1 away at Nantwich Town to make it mathematically impossible for the Daniels to get enough points to climb out of the bottom four.
For a while it was all looking so good. Nantwich took the lead in the 15th minute through Liam Shotton but just seven minutes later Jake Green levelled for Sports to earn the all-important point which means Mickleover and Stamford’s fate would not come down to the last day of the season when they meet each other on Saturday at the Zeeco Stadium.
It was certainly not the gift Daniels manager Graham Drury wanted on his birthday.
Stamford chairman Bob Feetham said. “It is a bitterly disappointing conclusion to what has been a tremendous effort since Christmas. We had all hoped that Saturday’s final game against Mickleover would give us the chance to stay up in style.
“Graham Drury and his squad had wanted that desperately - and they had come though some very tough games to get within touching distance of that goal.”
“My overriding feeling is one of frustration that we couldn’t do it for the fans. They have been fantastic over these last two campaigns and their support has always been enormously committed.
“I must accept some of the criticisms which suggest we didn’t act quickly enough before Christmas. Yes, Graham Drury should have been at the helm much earlier. We hold our hands up to that. Hindsight, however, is a marvellous thing.
“Graham inherited a very difficult situation but has done a fantastic job. He worked incredibly hard to restructure the squad and built a team spirit which augurs well for the future.
“And that is what counts. What we do for the future. The target is to come straight back. Graham is contracted with us until the end of 2016/17. Pre season and the new campaign will be his. We must give him all the support possible because promotion HAS to be the target for a club of this size.
“I also want to tell everyone that my fervent wish is that the mood this time next year will be one of elation. The lessons learned will help make that possible.”