Rejuvenated ex-Hornet Charman is bidding for Wembley

Gary Charman in action for Bognor this season Picture by Tommy McMillian
Gary Charman in action for Bognor this season Picture by Tommy McMillian

Former Horsham player-manager Gary Charman was days away from hanging up his boots at the start of the season but is now bidding for a date at Wembley.

The Hornets stalwart signed for Bognor on the eve of this season and is enjoying his football again after a turbulent last campaign.

His reign as Horsham manager ended at the end of 2014 after a torrid time in the role, but now the experienced and versatile player is two games away from playing at the home of football.

His Bognor side take on National League side Grimsby Town in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy at Nyewood Lane on Saturday in the first of a two-leg tie.

A rejuvenated Charman said: “I am looking forward to it, it’s a huge game and we thoroughly deserve to be there.

“Some of the teams we have had to beat and play against home and away and come out on top of them, the guys thoroughly deserve it.

“I think we are a bit unfortunate to get Grimsby, out of the three sides we could have got, they are probably the one side that we did not want.

“It’s only a couple of football matches and if we can get in the home tie and then make it just one match, we will have a chance in the second leg.”

Wembley is not a banned word in the dressing room and although talk has been limited, Charman admitted all eyes are on the major prize.

He added: “It’s not been mentioned in the changing room, but everyone individually is thinking about it. Obviously I am, everyone is, but it is still so far away. We have a massive, if not the biggest side in Non League football ahead of us.”

But it almost turned out different overly the summer, Charman added: “I spoke to Dom (Horsham manager) very, very briefly and I wasn’t really in his plans, so I thought I’d call it a day.

“Then two days before the start of the season, Jamie Howell (Bognor managed) called me up to see if I had a club yet.”

He ended up signing and has also had a brief spell at Lewes to gain match fitness.

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