Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio felt his players and put the town on the map – and possibly secured the non-League club £500,000 – after overpowering a youthful Derby to reach the FA Cup fourth round.
The National League North side made light of the four-division gap between the sides as they beat the Championship outfit 2-0 on a freezing afternoon in Lancashire.
In theory it was a huge upset although, in reality, after a Covid-19 outbreak at the Rams left them without their entire first-team squad, the balance tipped in favour of the experienced part-timers.
Derby fielded a side made up from their youth sides with an average age of 19 and without a single game of first-team experience between them.
The difference proved too great and the sixth-tier side prevailed at Victory Park with goals from Connor Hall and Mike Calveley.
Vermiglio said: “I’m really proud of them and really pleased for the players who’ve put so much effort in this season. For a team who were bottom of National League North after four games with zero points, to get to round four is unbelievable.
“First and foremost, it’s the confidence it gives us – Chorley is on the map now and for us it’s a boost. We’re in the limelight and it’s good to be out there getting that publicity.
“Secondary is the financial side of it. We’ve made around £250,000 before today, goodness knows what it’ll be now.
“It’ll certainly be £300,000 or £400,000. We could possibly get to £500,000 now and for a club like us, not only does it save us, it enables us to grow.”
It has been quite a week for Vermiglio, 38, who combines his role as manager with his day job as a primary school headteacher in Warrington.
After schools were told to close on Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vermiglio admitted the tie was not top of his priorities.
When it then became clear Derby would need to send youth players to fulfil the fixture – with all the first team and interim manager Wayne Rooney isolating, his thoughts about the game changed further.
Vermiglio said: “When we were drawn against Derby, the connection of Rooney was the big thing for me. He’s an England legend and someone who grew up in Liverpool and has inspired me.
“I wanted to compete against him and it wasn’t to be – but I’d swap all that for getting through to the fourth round proper.
“Credit to Wayne. I don’t know him personally but he phoned me two hours before the game and passed on his well wishes and apologised he couldn’t be there.”
Chorley dominant throughout and deserved to reach the fourth round for the first time in their history.
Vermiglio said: “I’ve played it down all week but, with the greatest respect, after five minutes you could see we were going to be the stronger side.”
Rooney left Derby in the charge of youth coach Pat Lyons.
Lyons said: “We’ve got to be proud of every single one of them. What we’ve had to go through this week, to put in a performance like that against an experienced team, we’ve given them a game up until the last 10 minutes.
“The lads were disappointed when they got in the changing rooms but I told them to get their heads up because they’d done everyone at the club proud. This is a moment they’ll never forget.”
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