IT'S been a memorable opening decade for the re-born Aldershot Town FC — fitting then it should end with progression to another cup final.
Ten years ago this week — Monday in fact — the Shots became the first club to fold during a season since Accrington Stanley in 1962, and the future of football in the town looked dead.
Saviour bids from fraudster Spencer Trethewy, Crystal Palace director Simon Hulme-Kendall and an 11th hour effort from then Shots chairman Mike Davey, all failed, and the rest was history with the club being wound up for £125,000.
But now a decade on and four managers later, feelings at the Rec are of an entirely different nature.
Terry Brown's new arrival has been like a breath of fresh air, with big signings promised and the prospect of re-living those days in the Football League not beyond the realms of possibility.
Few would have believed that ten years, one day and a couple of hours after that gut-wrenching day at the High Court, the newly-formed Aldershot Town FC would achieve three promotions, stacks of other honours and now a third Hampshire Senior Cup final in four seasons.
This ‘new era' at the club has come at just the right time. With the Football in the Community and PASE schemes in place, the club has a platform to build on, especially with Brown appointed as full-time chief.
Promotion to the Conference remains the top priority and if all the hard work behind the scenes pays off, the rest has a fighting chance of falling into place.
Fitting also that Brown's first match in the dug-outs should culminate in another cup final appearance, where a unique piece of history is on the verge of being made.
Victory over Havant & Waterlooville would make the Shots the last team to win a cup final at The Dell — the former home of Southampton — and indeed the first to win one at their new home, the 32,000 capacity St Mary's.
It's a prospect which excites the new management team with Brown commenting: "You have to pinch yourself to believe that you're going to be playing in the Premiership's newest arena. It's a fantastic place and the boys are really looking forward to it, as I am. It's going to be a great day out for the fans, and let's face it, they deserve it."
Progression to the final, which will take place on May 1, was confirmed on Tuesday night when the Shots made the trip across the water to Newport IOW, protecting a 2-0 lead from the first leg.
In all honesty, it couldn't have gone any better as they doubled their advantage with relative ease, never really looking in danger of a semi-final exit.
Indeed the Shots were handed the perfect start after just 21 seconds. Lee Protheroe broke down the free right, crossed and Jason Chewins from the opposite flank, connected with a bullet header into the far side of the net.
With Newport now needing to score four, the Shots, reverting back to a 3-5-2 system, were already comfortable and were creating chances at will.
Colin Matthews in the Newport goal had other ideas, however, saving from Adam Parker and Richard Gell before watching Stafford Browne's attempted lob fly over the bar.
The tie was effectively put out of Newport's reach just before the half hour mark when Adam Barsdell recklessly hacked Owen Coll to the ground before slyly stamping on him on his way back past. Referee Darren Spicer was right on hand, however, and promptly sent Barsdell off in disgrace.
Shots continued to rain in on Matthews' goal, but despite dominating proceedings, Aldershot, once again, failed to convert.
That was until the 54th minute though when Gell broke free down the right, he cut inside beating two men and crossed for Parker, who had a fine game in midfield, to fire home.
Further chances came and went as Brown began to experiment with his players while turning his thoughts to the hectic schedule ahead.
He said afterwards: "I'm chuffed to bits. I thought we played really well, were always in control and once again I'm delighted with the clean sheet.
"We changed the system out there because with the 2-0 lead we didn't have to surge forward as much. I thought it worked well as we were pretty comfortable and when their guy got sent off the tie was effectively over."
SHOTS: Howells; Protheroe (sub Nutter 50mins), Chewins (Watson 75), Kirby, Coll, Townley, Holsgrove, Parker, Browne (Forrester 62), Payne, Gell. Not used: Bentley, Collis.