Oyalty is a “big deal” for Boreham Wood boss Luke Garrard and on Saturday he looks to repay the support shown by his chairman Danny Hunter by guiding the club to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Hunter immediately informed everyone at Boreham Wood that he would be paid 100 percent of his salary – despite football being shut down.
Employees also had weekly food in store for them, with Hunter transporting it to the training ground so they wouldn’t have to run the risk of catching the virus by going to the supermarket.
In the end, Hunter had to re-mortgage his home to cover the costs of the pandemic, but Garrard insisted Saturday’s FA Cup tie with AFC Wimbledon was not about paying some of those costs. Is.
“He had to mortgage his house, but he’ll tell you this isn’t the cup to fill the run void,” Garrard told Standard Sport.
“This cup run is for making memories. He keeps saying, now the years are passing and the things that tickle him are the memories and magical moments.
“I just want to give him one more Saturday, what he has done for me, my family and the people of this football club.”
Garrard has experienced loyalty elsewhere during his career, namely in Saturday’s opponents. The former midfielder spent four years at AFC Wimbledon during his playing days, becoming a cult hero for episodes such as keeping a clean sheet when he was forced to go goal for half due to an injury crisis.
Those were the early days of the Dons, when the club had just reformed, and Garrard held them close to his heart.
He lives in a huge WhatsApp group with many players of the time and, pre-Covid, Christmas drinks were a regular occurrence as they will remember the good times they spent winning the Isthmian League and Conference South together.
“I remember beating the Hamptons to win the Conference South, we all went back to Wimbledon and the two pubs were packed together,” Garrard says.
“We were all at the table with our shirts off, headscarves, singing with the fans. It was that kind of club.
“We’re never going to be Crazy Gang and I’m not going to point to any shape or form, but if fans were to say who the closest group is, it would be when they started From 2002 to 2008.
“I have a great association with that club. I absolutely love that club. Their scale is, when I broke my ACL, they called me the day I got the news and offered me a new two-year deal. Turns out they’re a class club.”
Garrard hasn’t forgotten Dons’ gestures, stating that when one of his players, Kane Smith, broke his ACL, Boreham Wood offered him a new two-year deal.
We’ve got the community excited with this Cup Run – and that’s what it’s about.
“I know how he felt because I was his eight, 10 years ago,” Garrard says. “You learn a lot of things through your career that stay with you. Loyalty is a big thing in football.”
Garrard insisted that the “love affair” with AFC Wimbledon would end tomorrow as he looks to take Boreham Wood to the fourth round.
It hasn’t been easy to prepare this week, given the rise in coronavirus cases, with things like analysis sessions on Zoom being in people’s cars.
Thankfully, fans can still be present at Meadow Park for Saturday’s game, which was not the case last year when Boreham Wood hosted Millwall on the same stage.
“We got to the third round for the first time in club history, but it felt false,” says Garrard. “It looked terrible against Millwall.
“We’ve got the community excited with this Cup Run – and that’s what it’s about. And I want to give them another moment, another memory.”
“Let’s be honest, Covid is terrible and if we can give 10 percent of that crowd a moment to take them to their graves, we have done our job. I honestly believe in him.”