‘My players deserve it’: Boreham Wood focus on Lampard’s Everton | FA Cup
For Luke Garrard, it was about creating a moment, a burst of joy, something to remember forever and, given the odds against his side Boreham Wood in the FA Cup fourth round at Bournemouth on Sunday, the manager would have taken anything – and especially a goal.
Garrard understood that and what a story it was for captain, Mark Ricketts, at 37, when he brought in a low side foot in the 38th minute to give the National League side the lead. Ricketts hadn’t trained Tuesday through Friday and did the bare minimum on Saturday while nursing an injury that required an injection last Monday.
“Mark was still feeling it after Saturday’s session,” Garrard said. “I said, ‘I don’t care. You’re taking us back to Bournemouth. I don’t care if it’s 15 minutes or 20 minutes. You deserve it.'”
Garrard wanted the moment for his players, especially stalwarts such as Ricketts; for fans; for the president, Danny Hunter, who has done it all since taking office in 1999 and, yes, for himself. Why not? “When we scored the first goal, I probably would have suffered a 5-1 loss…just to have a moment,” Garrard said.
Garrard and everyone linked to the club were left with so much more and the scenes after the final whistle, when little Boreham Wood hung on to win 1-0 and stage a fifth-round draw at Everton, put featured many people taking time off. of their senses.
At 11 p.m. the previous night, Garrard had received a FaceTime call from a member of club staff who was already in Bournemouth at a hotel. “There were 30 or 40 fans [outside the hotel] and they were chanting my name…unbelievable,” he says. After 17 years at Boreham Wood, first as a player and as a manager since October 2015, his bond with the support is unbreakable.
Garrard was in full-time tears, in part because he had his wife and two young sons at the stadium, along with other family and friends. He first stayed behind to allow the players to celebrate in front of the opposing team but, a little later, he had his moment alone with them. There was a touch of Jürgen Klopps about his fist pump and their cheering.
Boreham Wood, whose players are full-time professionals, won around £240,000 in prize money from the Cup run. They raised £110,000 in TV money from the Bournemouth tie and, when their shares of gate receipts are taken into account, they are thought to have earned around £500,000 – with more to come at Everton, particularly if it’s televised.
“It will fill a little void in a big black hole,” says Garrard, as he reflects on the impact of the pandemic on the club. “But I will tell you now that the president would pay half a million to have a moment like this. Because he says he’s coming to the last stages of his life.
“Money is money. He tells me every time. Don’t worry about the money. He never puts pressure on me to take part in a Cup race. But to create those moments…”
Garrard is asked if he shared a moment with Hunter after the game. “I made a fat man happy,” he says, smiling. “And that’s not me…I sound so rude.” He says so in his interviews. “You make a fat man happy.”
He may be familiar with Hunter, he may laugh, because they’re so tight. “It’s not a president-director relationship. He calls me his sixth son. I just like the man.
“There is a pandemic but he has paid everyone at the club 100%. He gave each £100 a week to pay for their [online] shopping so as not to have to go to supermarkets and risk bringing the Covid home. I was getting an amazing steak every week. He remortgaged his house [in March 2020 to put the money into the club].”
Garrard was impressed by Bournemouth manager Scott Parker, who came into the dressing room to congratulate them. “I have to say, ‘Who’s doing this?'” Garrard said. “For him to have that after a loss is amazing.” He asked Parker if he could follow him in training for four or five days at some point.
So now for Everton. Now on to Frank Lampard and his assistant manager, Ashley Cole. “I’m an Arsenal man, so seeing Ashley Cole… I probably won’t know how to put two words together,” Garrard said. “Frank Lampard is an English legend, a Chelsea legend. But I’ll ask him the same thing I did with Scott Parker. ‘Can I come in and follow you? He’s amazing. Let’s hope he keeps the score under 10.
“My players deserve it. They deserve to come out to Goodison and hear the [Z Cars] music. The hair on the back of my neck just stood on end thinking about the music.
Boreham Wood’s story has all the makings of a movie, so maybe nearby Elstree Studios should give it some thought. “That’s good,” Garrard said. “I will have Brad Pitt. He can play me.