Ruff reveals boss Stimson told him to pretend he was at the park not Wembley

Charlie Ruff of Hornchurch holds the FA Trophy during Hereford FC vs Hornchurch, Buildbase FA Trophy

Charlie Ruff of Hornchurch holds the FA Trophy during Hereford FC vs Hornchurch, Buildbase FA Trophy Final Football at Wembley Stadium on 22nd May 2021 - Credit: Ben Gaby/TGS Photo

Hornchurch attacking midfielder Charlie Ruff revealed manager Mark Stimson told him to pretend he was playing over the park when he came off the bench in the FA Trophy final.

Former Barnet youngster Ruff and experienced striker Chris Dickson came off the bench in the 59th minute to change the game as they trailed 1-0 to Hereford at Wembley. 

Ruff found the back of the net before the two linked up well for Liam Nash’s goal in the 86th minute to give them the lead before Ellis Brown cemented the victory by adding a third in the dying stages. 

“When I come on the gaffer said 'go and enjoy it'. That’s all he ever tells me, he says you’re at your best when you’re at the park with your mates and you’re playing with a smile on your face. 

“I tried to show that and not let the occasion get the better of me. Just pretend I was playing with my mates at the park and that’s how people like me to play football. Obviously he gave me a few tactical instructions but mainly go out, enjoy it, be special and win us the game.” 


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He added: “When I was warming up I was saying to Dicko, I had one of those feelings, and I feel as a player you kind of know that you’re going to impact the game in some way and in that moment I felt like I could. 

“The boys had done remarkably well to stay in the game, they battled so well, and that allowed Dicko and I to come on with the chance of winning the game and that’s all we could ask for. 

Hornchurch's Charlie Ruff celebrates scoring their first goal during the Buildbase FA Trophy Final a

Hornchurch's Charlie Ruff celebrates scoring their first goal during the Buildbase FA Trophy Final against Hereford at Wembley Stadium - Credit: PA

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“It was a special occasion, especially standing there warming up, and you’ve got your friends and family chanting your name. It makes it all worth it. All the training sessions and extra runs worth it.” 

The 22-year-old insists that moment is the best of his career to date but is hungry for more in the future. 

 “It was incredible to be able score at Wembley and definitely something that I'm never going to forget," he added.

“I’ve been really fortunate in my career already at just 22 to go to the Falkland Islands and to play in China as well, but this definitely tops it especially the way we've done it and the circumstances we've done it in.

“Not really playing any matches, playing one game a month, and going through the whole lockdown all together. It was incredible to get that goal and hopefully plenty more of them to come in the future.”

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