Lowestoft Town skipper’s joy at the sixth time of asking
- Credit: James Bass
You could forgive Dan Gleeson for thinking he was one of the unluckiest footballers in England before the Lowestoft skipper led the Blues to play-off final joy on Monday.
Having endured five defeats in play-off finals through his career with Cambridge United, Luton Town and last year with the Trawlerboys it was a case of sixth time lucky for the 29-year-old.
'It's right up there with anything I've done,' he revealed. 'I've never won promotion before. I've been relegated and lost five finals but now, thankfully, I've been promoted. You always have your doubts it won't happen for you but I'm pleased, not just for me, but the lads and the coaching staff – they've been tremendous. Chappo (Micky Chapman), Ady (Gallagher) and Flem (Craig Fleming) have been brilliant.
'The chairman as well puts his all in for the football club and it's thoroughly deserved.'
From the moment Robert Eagle put the Blues ahead on the half-hour mark Lowestoft never looked in any danger of losing a fourth successive play-off final on Monday in front of a bumper 2,697 crowd at Crown Meadow. Further goals from Jake Reed and Curtis Haynes-Brown in the second half demonstrated their authority over a Hornchurch side that never got going.
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'We always believed,' added Gleeson, who arrived at the club in the summer of 2012 having been released by Luton. 'We knew they were going to come here, be physical and put us under pressure. But we had the answer to everything. From when Eagle scored we never looked back.
'It's worth the wait because the lads have been outstanding. We've turned up for some games with 12 or 13 players. For a team to go through a season like that with a very small squad is an unbelievable achievement.'
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Lowestoft must now wait to see which section of the Conference they will be promoted to next season when the National League System committee meets later this month.
Whichever division Lowestoft are in next season there will be some long away days but Gleeson is certain the club can continue its rise up the non-league pyramid.
'It's an exciting football club going in the right direction,' he said. 'Travelling will be a bit tough I would guess but with the squad of players we've got, we will obviously have to add to it, we've got young lads that can progress.
'We can keep progressing as long as the club has got the ambition to. Why stop it? The only thing against it is probably the area that it's in.
'Most away games in this league are around the London area so those clubs have a big pool of players to choose from.
'To get players to come to this area is more difficult but you've got to progress. We've taken the next step and why should it stop now?'