Milestone moment for Alfreton fan

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Saturday was a special day at the Impact Arena.

Not only did Alfreton Town preserve their National League North status for next season, but supporter Bill Draper reached an incredible milestone - his 2,000th consecutive match watching the Reds home and away.

Bill, who has only missed 13 Alfreton matches since England won the World Cup in 1966, was awarded with a commemorative momento after the full time whistle for his dedication and years of service.

He is in his 47th year as stadium announcer and his 46th year in supplying match reports for the Derbyshire Times newspaper group. His 2,000th match saw the Reds deliver a 1-0 win over FC United of Manchester.

You can read Bill’s assessment of that match in these sports pages as he made it 2,000 not out - a polar opposite to what happened when he reached 1,000 consecutive games.

“When I had my 1,000th we got relegated, so Saturday had to be to not get relegated,” said Bill, who recalled the run began on 20th December 1980.

He has had a handful of near misses in that time and when asked by Josh Smith post match on Saturday how he had managed the achievement, his response was: “With great difficulty”.

“I got chicken pox about three day before we were meant to go to Radcliffe Borough in 1999,” he said.

“Lo and behold it snowed that morning so it was off. I had planned to go anyway and just hide myself away in the corner.”

He counts the four years the club spent in the Conference, a 6-1 home win over Stockport and the 6-3 win at Cambridge in the FA Trophy in Aden Flint’s last game among his most memorable moments over the 38 years.

“The biggest problem now is, it’s not an option to miss one,” he smiled.