FORMER Leeds United defender Neil Aspin can take revenge on Charlton Athletic tomorrow – 24 years after they destroyed his dream of promotion to the top flight.
Aspin is now the manager of non-league FC Halifax Town, whose home game with League One leaders Addicks is one of of the first round televised ties.
Back in the late Eighties, Aspin was a member of the Leeds side which lost to Charlton in a Second Division play-off final replay at St Andrews.
Although he was only 22, he never got closer to another crack at the top flight and spent the rest of his career playing lower league football with Port Vale, Darlington and Hartlepool United.
Understandably, Aspin has stressed that tomorrow’s game is about putting Halifax back on the map rather than settling scores.
“It was a long time ago and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then,” he said.
“This game is not about me or the players, it is about the club.
“We’re playing against the biggest team in the draw possible. Nothing is expected of us and Charlton are expected to win easily.
“The whole day is about showing Halifax in a good light and I just hope we do ourselves justice,” he added. “It is daunting on the field but, financially, it will benefit the club in the long term.”
FC Halifax, who were formed three years ago after the closure of Halifax Town, will receive a broadcast fee of £67,500 for the game to add to the £25,000 they have already collected for victories in three qualifying rounds.
Currently 11th in Blue Square Bet North, they have won back-to-back promotions under Aspin since his appointment as manager in April, 2009.
“It’s certainly been very difficult at times,” he reflected. “There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to get the club where it is now. It has gone through some really bad times but it has bounced back.
“Obviously we have had a couple of successful years now and I really feel that this game is a reward for all that hard work.”
Tomorrow’s tie will have added significance for Charlton defender Matt Taylor, now 29, who signed for the Shaymen briefly six years ago.
Taylor, who originally hails from Merseyside, had been released as a youngster by Everton and was studying at Sheffield’s Hallam University.
“I signed there towards the end of the 2004-05 season while I was at university and I was there for a couple of weeks,” reflected Taylor.
“They had a great manager in Chris Wilder and they were a big club for that level.
“They had their problems and were re-formed and have been on the up since.
“It’s a big ground and there should be a big crowd on Sunday so we won’t be taking it lightly.”