Corinthian turned to Olympic sprinter Adam Gemili to help them get over last season’s FA Vase heartache.
Michael Golding’s men hit the FA Vase trail again this weekend with a trip to Hanworth Villa in their delayed second round tie.
Corinthian missed out on a Wembley final after losing their semi-final on penalties to Northern League Hebburn in September.
But they helped ease the pain after a heart-to-heart with Dartford superstar Gemili, who opened up on his own personal heartache after missing out on a medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio by three thousandths of a second.
“I wish we still had the uncertainty of playing a final hanging over us still,” said Golding. “It still hurts and is disappointing but good luck to Hebburn, they deserve to have their day.
“But we’ve dealt with that now and we’ve had some really good conversations.
“Adam Gemili came and spoke to the boys, and talked about how to deal with that heartache.
“We know Adam personally and he came and spoke to us all as a group.
“He didn’t have to do that but he gave up his time and he gave us some pointers. A couple of the boys spoke out about their feelings and disappointment, and hopefully we used that session to move forwards.
“It’s taken a long time but we’re in a much better place now.”
Gemili spoke to the squad just five days after their Vase semi-final exit.
“As a management team, we could say everything to the players but to hear that from someone of Adam’s calibre was excellent,” said Golding.
“He put it in perspective. We lost in the Vase, and then won on the Tuesday against Lordswood in the league, and he spoke to us on the Thursday.
“When he lost out at the Olympics by three thousandths of a second, he had to wait four years for that cycle to come round again so it’s a slightly different context.
“The players were able to draw on his experience and how he changed his work ethic and what he wanted to achieve for the next four years.
“What we also found out was that there is a reason why semi-finals and finals are at the end of the season.
“We tried to motivate ourselves for that first league game against Lordswood and it was really hard. I don’t really remember anything about that game except they missed a sitter in the last minute to earn a draw.”
Golding has already watched Feltham-based Hanworth in action – in their final game before the latest lockdown – and knows Corinthian have their work cut out if they are to progress.
Hanworth are unbeaten in the Combined Counties League this season and sit second in the table.
“It’s one of the toughest draws we could have got, apart from the teams in our league, and they are fancied to do well in their league,” said Golding.
“They’re full of quality. They’ve got Paul Merson’s son up front and the goal I saw him score was outstanding.
“They are defensively solid and would compete well if they were in our league from what I saw – that shows how tough it’s going to be.
“We’ve obviously got pedigree in it after last year and will be looking to go one better but they will start as favourites.”
Corinthian’s league programme won’t resume until December 27 at the earliest, after the Southern Counties East League delayed their restart due to Kent being placed under tier 3 restrictions.
It’s a decision that Golding agreed with – and he praised the League for leading the way among football authorities at their level.
“I think the SCEFL have been fantastic in their communication,” said Golding.
“They’ve been one of the first step 5 leagues to make decisions like that.
“It could go on for longer and we might not resume until January in the league.
“We’re all keen to play but it has to be when the time is right and it is safe to do so.
“The SCEFL made the right decision, 100 per cent, and I congratulate them on that.”