AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor says the memory of playing Justin Edinburgh’s Leyton Orient side in the final of the FA Trophy is something that will live with him forever.
Edinburgh tragically passed away over the weekend just five days after suffering a cardiac arrest.
That came three weeks after he managed his Orient side at Wembley against Challinor’s men, who came out on top courtesy of a 1-0 win, in what transpired to be Edinburgh’s final game.
“It wasn’t long ago I was stood alongside him in the technical area trying to do everything to beat his team,” Challinor said.
“A lot of the pictures put out in the media were of me and him on the touchline at Wembley.
“That day was a celebration for them and to have 25,000 fans there backing their team was massive.
“It was a great day for us and one I will have remembered for the rest of my life anyway, but it’s definitely one I will remember more now in a different way.
“That day for me and for us as a club was probably the biggest day in our history.
“To achieve a boyhood ambition to climb up the Wembley steps and pick up a trophy was amazing.
“For him to be taken away contextualises an awful lot of things and it will serve as a daily reminder for me and my staff that things can change very quickly.
“Football is all about winning, it’s all about doing everything you can, but the bigger picture is that when things like this happen you have to recognise where you are.
“It makes you think about your loved ones and the people that are close to you, because this is an example of how things can be taken away in a blink of an eye.”
Challinor said he was made aware of the tragic news just minutes before he was due to attend the National League’s Gala awards evening, where representatives from Leyton Orient were in attendance.
“Saturday night when the news broke was really tough,” the Fylde boss added.
“We knew that Justin had fallen ill on the previous Monday and we were all concerned.
“I had seen Danny Macklin, the chief executive at Leyton Orient, and asked if there was any news which there hadn’t been.
“For the news to break 10 minutes prior to going in was really, really tough.
“I got messages throughout the evening from our staff and one thing Colin Woodthorpe, our assistant, mentioned was how he had lost his wife Karole in October to cancer.
“Col has been a difficult situation since, but following the FA Trophy final Justin went over to him and said some kind words. That was the type of person he was, he didn’t have to do that.”