Happy Wanderer Jason feeling fab at 40
Milton LindsayIf life does, as they say, begin at 40, then Jason Bush had made the perfect start. After his players sprang a surprise party on him to mark the milestone on Friday, they gave him further cause for celebration on Wednesday when they won one of Norfolk amateur football's premier prizes - the Sunday Senior Cup.Milton Lindsay
If life does, as they say, begin at 40, then Jason Bush had made the perfect start.
After his players sprang a surprise party on him to mark the milestone on Friday, they gave him further cause for celebration on Wednesday when they won one of Norfolk amateur football's premier prizes - the Sunday Senior Cup.
'It been an amazing week in my life,' said Jason, manager of the AFC Wanderers side he founded 10 years ago.
He added: 'I am an emotional wreck - it's a good job I booked the week off work, everything has worked out brilliantly.'
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Reflecting on the 3-2 victory over city pub side the Dog House, who as Delaneys dashed Wanderers' Senior Cup dream in the 2007 semi-finals, he said: 'It's brilliant. The players were exceptional - they were all men of the match.'
Wednesday's success meant that Jason has savoured Carrow Road cup final success two years running, as the Norwich St Johns Anglian Combination side he helps to manage won the Norfolk Junior Cup last year by beating King's Lynn A on penalties after the score was 1-1 after extra time.
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'To be there twice on the trot is amazing - even more so to win both times,' said Jason, whose players Martin Owen, Aaron Kay, Luke Tuttle and Tom Barrett also achieved the same rare double.
Jason said AFC's success was a fitting reward for the dedication of people who had been with the club from the early days - such as captain Ben Wright, Jodie Pitcher, Stewie Howard (president)) and Scott Sell.
'We have probably only had about 50 players signed on in all of the 10 years - some clubs have that number in one season. A lot of the players have been with us since they were 16 or 17 and are now coming to their prime and bonding as a team brilliantly.
'I'd also like to thank my mum Susan, who is club chairwoman and has helped us out financially over the years, and sponsors Ian Sell and Trevor Lamb.'
AFC Wanderers were certainly dressed to kill as they turned up at Carrow Road wearing suits, shirts and red ties.
'To be at Carrow Road is an occasion to remember and we wanted to look the part.
'We felt it was worth making an effort for the evening.'
Aaron Kay fired Wanderers ahead with a 20-yard screamer after 72 seconds, adding a second on 18 minutes, before Matthew Banham hit back for the Dog House.
Wanderers took control with an emphatic finish from Luke Tuttle on 56 minutes before Andy Eastaugh slid home a cross to set up a tense final 20 minutes.
Bush praised the Dog House, managed by Graham Challen, who will skipper Wroxham's FA Vase final team at Wembley on May 9. 'They were very sporting afterwards,' he said. 'They are top guys.'
Now Wanderers, who play home matches at Eaton Park, will focus their efforts on their Evening News Norwich Sunday League Premier Division campaign.
Whatever happens they look set to improve on last year's fifth place.
'I would say we are long shots for the title - but we'll just keep playing and see where it takes us. Whether we finish second or first we'll be chuffed.'