Maidstone supervisor George Elokobi says he has watched Sam Corne’s FA Cup third-round winner extra occasions than he has seen clips of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
Elokobi is bidding to make additional historical past with the National League South facet this weekend after guiding them into the fourth spherical of the competitors for the primary time for the reason that membership reformed in 1992.
The sixth-tier Stones – the lowest-ranked staff remaining within the competitors – journey to Sky Bet Championship high-fliers Ipswich on Saturday lunchtime after Corne’s decisive penalty arrange a 1-0 success over League One Stevenage.
Elokobi, a former Premier League defender with Wolves, needs his gamers to proceed revelling within the nationwide highlight going right into a televised tie with the Tractor Boys.
“I’m excited for the entire community: Maidstone as a whole, our football club, obviously our owners, more so for our players, who are history makers,” stated the 37-year-old.
“It’s a great occasion, a historic moment for them all.
“They went out there believing that they could cause the big upset in the FA Cup third round and become history makers.
“I know the pitch got invaded but just to see the young boys and girls that ran on the pitch epitomises everything about what our football club means to our community.
“It was the sheer magnitude of the media coverage after that game.
“I must have watched Sam Corne more than I’ve watched Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi in my time!
“That’s just what it meant because every TV programme, or most TV programmes, it was all about Maidstone United Football Club and it just shows what our group of players have achieved.”
Maidstone will probably be roared on by slightly below 4,500 followers at Portman Road.
They return to Suffolk having crashed out to seventh-tier Needham Market – a membership positioned round 9 miles north-west of Ipswich – within the fourth qualifying spherical final season.
The Kent membership, who’re captained by former Arsenal defender Gavin Hoyte, have performed six fixtures to achieve this stage, together with knocking out League Two Barrow earlier than upsetting Stevenage.
Elokobi added: “We’re going to a special club in Ipswich Town and what’s not to love about that? What’s not to celebrate about it?
“We just want our players to go there, enjoy competing against Championship professionals and enjoy showcasing their talents and making sure they do themselves proud and the entire Maidstone community.
“We know the magnitude of the game, we know how good they are in terms of the respect we’re going to show them.”
Maidstone’s spell within the limelight comes 32 years after the membership had been liquidated amid spiralling money owed and later reborn.
In addition to the wholesome travelling help, the Stones can even have loads of backing in Elokobi’s native Cameroon.
“When we beat Barrow, it made national news in Cameroon,” he stated.
“The messages I’ve been getting has been overwhelming, they’ve come via text messages, they’ve gone through the social media platforms.
“I’ve even had calls from the British Cameroonian consulate in England as well, so that tells you the magnitude of what I’m doing.
“I’m the first Cameroonian to have ever managed an English outfit, let alone be in the fourth round of the FA Cup as a manager.
“But it’s not just about me.
“It’s going to an incredible day for everyone connected to myself and Maidstone United Football Club.”