Duncan Payne’s Ilkeston FC blog: A time to be proud

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Wednesday 28th January 2015 may not be a date that will forever be etched in my memory but the events that unfolded that night always will be.

Anyone who has a place for Ilkeston FC in their heart will never forget it.

Rarely, if ever, has a match unconnected with the Robins provoked such an outpouring of joy, excitement and pride as the one when League One Sheffield United drew 2-2 with Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup-semi-final.

The Blades from the steel city ultimately failed by a single goal to take the tie into extra-time and possibly book a place at Wembley but the reason they came so close was purely down to one of Ilkeston’s favourite sons.

United seemed to be down and out until they introduced young Che Adams as a substitute. A few weeks earlier Che had been Ilkeston FC’s bright young star and thrilled us with his attacking play. Now here he was, on the pitch against one of the biggest teams in the land, playing in front of 31,000 people instead of the 400 or so at the New Manor Ground.

What an impact he made! Within a few minutes of his arrival he scored two brilliant goals to send the Sheffield fans crazy. Not only that but he also sent those Ilkeston fans watching the game on television or listening to the radio commentary, including someone in this particular household, into a potent mixture of pleasure and pride.

Che wasn’t destined to be heading to Wembley on this occasion but on this particular night he showed that he has what it takes to become a top player.

So big was his impact that for several hours he was the most talked about man in the British Isles according to internet social media site Twitter - it seemed as if every Ilkeston fan wanted to share in the joy of the occasion!

What Che Adams did was to show to every Ilkeston footballer that dreams can come true by training hard and playing to the best of your ability.

Someone out there will recognise the talent, the potential to improve further, and the hunger to succeed.

These are precisely the attributes Che showed during his time at Ilkeston and they are the very same ones that will surely one day see him grace the finest stadiums in the land.

Good luck, Che!