PHIL ROGERSON and everyone connected with Guiseley AFC will never, ever forget the date of May 9, 2015.
For the uninitiated, that was the jubilant occasion when the Lions clinched a miraculous victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat win at Chorley’s Victory Park, remarkably coming back from a 2-0 interval deficit in their Conference North play-off final to prevail 3-2 and clinch a historic promotion.
Some 357 days on, Mark Bower’s side will stride out at Nethermoor on another spring afternoon of momentous importance, where the rewards for Guiseley do not need spelling out in Saturday’s National League encounter with Torquay United, where they must win and rely on a favour from elsewhere.
In this case, the prize is National League safety, with chairman Rogerson adamant that clinching survival in the club’s first campaign at this level would be as seismic an achievement as promotion just shy of a year before.
As for the spectre of relegation, while there would be a financial fall-out from it, that would be massively superseded by the blow it would administer to club pride, in the view of Rogerson.
He said: “It would be amazing to stay up, absolutely.
“It is unfortunate that we did not manage to get ourselves in a position where it is in our own hands. But we can still do it, we’ll just have to see what happens.
“We obviously need to get as many fans there to get behind the team and roar them on. Hopefully we will have a decent crowd, although they won’t bring many, and a good atmosphere and the team will react.”
On the import of a dreaded relegation, Rogerson added: “There’s not a great deal of (financial) difference, to be honest. A lot of it is profile, pride and the effect that relegation could have. I can remember going through relegations before and it can tear the heart of volunteers and supporters and it can affect everyone and it can be difficult to regain that momentum the next season.”
Victory on Saturday on its own will not be enough to secure Guiseley’s craved-for divisional status after they dropped, somewhat depressingly and cruelly, into the bottom four for the first time this season after a shattering 1-0 weekend reverse at fellow strugglers Boreham Wood.
It means that Guiseley, aside from downing the Gulls, require either Yorkshire rivals FC Halifax Town or Wood fail to beat Macclesfield or relegated Welling respectively to be the ones smiling come Saturday evening.
Last weekend’s chain of events, where Guiseley missed a string of chances, had a strong penalty shout turned away and then had to suffer further on a day when the Shaymen claimed a shock win at Forest Green, summed up the Lions’ desperate luck for large parts of 2015-16, much to Rogerson’s chagrin.
He said: “We certainly haven’t been murdered this season. It’s been one goal here and there and lapses in concentration in defence and pretty dire luck, call it what you will, in front of goal.
“But it is a difficult division and we knew what we were letting ourselves in for.
“We set our stall out to compete; it is just that the rub of the green hasn’t been with us.
“But hopefully, the gods will be smiling on us on Saturday.”