‘I told the Leiston chairman 12 years ago I would come back and prove him and everyone wrong!’ - Glenn Driver
PUBLISHED: 12:34 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:35 02 May 2018
Leiston stand on the brink of even more history as they go in search of Step 2 football.
The Victory Road squad of 2017/18 have already achieved more than any Leiston side has ever, by reaching the Step 3 play-offs.
Tomorrow night they travel to Tooting & Mitcham, to face Dulwich Hamlet in the play-off semi-finals – the winners will face Hendon or Folkestone in Monday’s Bostik Premier League play-off final.
For manager Glenn Driver, who four years ago was coaching an U13s youth team having being released by Leiston eight years previous, it has been some journey – and a one he looks back at with pride.
“I was managing Leiston 12 years ago in the Eastern Counties League,” Driver said.
“We did ok to start off with but the club went down a different route and brought in Jason Dozzell.
“That was fine, I saw it coming. But I remember my conversation with chairman Andy Crisp at the time.
“I told him, ‘I would come back to Leiston one day and prove him and everyone wrong’. When Andy called me and I got the chance to come back to Leiston all those years later, to look after the reserves and U18s, I couldn’t wait.
“Me and Andy can rib each other about it now. But I was always determined.”
Driver and head coach Tony Kinsella have done well at a club that has been near, but never in, the Step 3 play-offs.
Dulwich Hamlet will prove tough opponents, even if they are no longer playing out of their Champion Hill ground – their ‘home’ for the past few months now is at Tooting.
“The Tooting pitch could be a leveller,” Driver said.
“I’ve just wanted Leiston to progress year on year and we have done so this year.
“We have got the opportunity to reach Conference South, which is a huge deal. We had 617 fans here on Saturday, that’s what we need every week. The people of Leiston to continue to support us. I must admit, last year I felt no pressure, but these last two months, I have felt loads, although I know I put alot on myself.
“Already this squad has created history. We are ready now to make more.”
Leiston chairman Andy Crisp said: “Our thought process every year is to aim to improve on the season before.
“The idea now is to enjoy the play-offs. If we get up to Step 2, we’ll look forward to that as well.
“Glenn said he wanted to get us into the play-offs and the club matched that ambition.
“The team’s done it, now let’s see where it takes us.”