By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
The situation Steve Kittrick finds himself in is very similar to the predicament he was in, back in the summer of 2009.
Kittrick had been in charge at Guiseley for nearly two years and had narrowly avoided the sack on at least one occasion – only the arrival of James Walshaw in the March of that year and the subsequent charge towards the NPL Premier Division play-offs saved him.
The NPL Challenge Cup had also been won so Kittrick was given one last crack at winning the title – which the Lions did, but in stunning fashion.
And with five games remaining, it was all going to plan. But three straight defeats title rivals Boston United, Matlock Town and Marine put future Grimsby Town bosses Paul Hurst and Rob Scott’s Boston in the driving seat.
Guiseley restored hope with a midweek victory at Frickley which also ensured the fight went to final day with Boston top of the division on goal difference.
Guiseley, Bradford (Park Avenue) and even fourth-placed North Ferriby United had chances of glory.
Ahead of the final day home clash with Ashton United, Kittrick admitted that when his side were top of the Division with five games to go that “the pressure had got to one or two people, it also to me”.
Guiseley were now on a win and a prayer, literally. Kittrick’s men had to beat Ashton at Nethermoor and hope Marine take points off Boston.
Guiseley did their bit by comfortably beating Ashton 2-0 with talisman Walshaw (pictured above) scoring both goals.
But, as the final whistle sounded at Nethermoor, Boston were still playing at Marine and it was still 0-0 – Boston had buckled under the pressure.
Just minutes were left, but at Nethermoor it felt like an eternity.
Players and supporters were gathered together until the news was confirmed – Guiseley were the champions.
Kittrick collapsed to his knees as the party started.
It had been a long road for Kittrick, but he had finally got the Lions over the finish line – his last chance to do so.
That was three years ago. In April 2014, there needs to be similar scenes if he wants to remain in charge at Nethermoor.
The board have had enough of Blue Square Bet North, they want the Conference Premier at Nethermoor.