Flack looking forward to Cup Final
Flack looking forward to Cup Final

Cray Valley Paper Mills are preparing for the F.A. Vase Final having achieved their main aim of winning the Southern Counties East Football League and promotion to the Bostik South East Division.

Midfielder Ryan Flack explained how the coped with the stress as their Vase success meant they were always behind on games. “We quite enjoyed the chase.” he said. “There was a bit more stress so it gave us a bit more intensity. We knew that we always had to win every game because we were playing catch up.

I think it spurred us into playing better. We’ve got a really good strong squad. I think that’s credit to the gaffer. The players that he’s brought in, their character’s been brilliant. We’ve really gelled well.

We’ve worked hard for each other. We’ve got some phenomenal players who we can play off, learn from. They bring so much experience.”

Flack believes that promotion is just a start for the club. “At every club you go to you want to do the best you can. I’m still young. Hopefully I can push on. I’m sure next year we’re going to challenge as well. The club’s got a lot of ambition.

The Gaffer, Jamesy (Kevin James), Oz (Tom Osborne), they install this drive and intensity in us. There’s no rest. They want to win the league again next season and I’m sure that everyone at the club agrees and will strive to do everything that we can to do that.”

Towards the run in they fell to a surprise defeat at Holland and Blairs that appeared to have Corinthian the advantage. “It was a tough blow” he said. “It was a massive blow to us and that evening, I was really annoyed. It was a game that we should have won to be fair to them they played really well. They knew how to stop us and battled hard to get the result.

A few of the boys, we were talking about it and said we’ve just got to put this behind us now and continue to drive and win every single remaining game and hope and pray for the best.

When considering how winning the league compared to reaching the final of the Vase, Flack said “Both equally are something special. The league is something you work for the whole season and, I don’t know if it’s more of a relief than anything because we’ve worked so hard for it over the year.

Whereas the Vase, we’ve taken it game by game then we were back to the league for a while, then we came back to it again. It’s amazing to do both but playing at Wembley is possibly a once in a lifetime thing.

You try and play the scenario in your head. You’ve got to enjoy everything. You’ve got to enjoy the build up to the game, being in the changing room, walking around the pitch before the game, experiencing it with your team-mates and your family but ultimately we want to go and win the Vase. It’s very important for us.

It’s the Millers 100th season and they are expecting a large following. Flack said “There’s a list of people in the club who’ve got 50 to 60 family and friends who are all coming to watch so it does show how much support we all have as players.

They are talking about buying shirts with our names and numbers on the back. For some people that has already been a reality but for some of us it hasn’t and it’s something that you dream of when you’re younger.

To have people cheering you on and to play at Wembley with people having your name on the back of their shirt, it’s a bit of a surreal feeling.”