FORMER Rocks midfielder Mickey Demetriou came so close to fulfilling his dream of playing in the Football League when his Kidderminster Harriers side narrowly missed out on promotion last season.
Demetriou, from Worthing, played for Rebels aged 16, before spells at Bognor, the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain and Eastbourne Borough, led to him joining Kidderminster – where he has been for the past two seasons.
After a sixth-placed finish in the Conference Premier Division in his first season, Harriers failed to win in their opening 10 games of this season. However, an incredible run saw them take 88 points from their next 36 games as they finished second with 93 points from their 46 games.
With champions Mansfield finishing two points ahead to get automatic promotion, Kidderminster were left to fight it out in the play-offs where they lost 5-2 on aggregate to Wrexham in the semi-finals.
Demetriou, who missed the second leg against Wrexham through injury, said: “It was a little bit of a disappointing end to the season.
“Wrexham played the occasion better than us in the play-offs as they had a lot more experienced players, while our average age is about 23 and a lot of us hadn’t been in a situation like that before but it’s one that we’ll all learn from.
Demetriou has had two pieces of good news since the season finished.
He has been named in the England C team for a match away to Bermuda at the start of June and was also named Kidderminster manager’s player-of-the-season by boss Steve Burr on Friday evening.
The 23-year-old, who has played 72 games in his two seasons at Aggborough, has a year left on his contract at Kidderminster.
His goal now is to play in the Football League and he said: “That’s what every footballer wants to do and we came so close this season. Hopefully, we’ll do it next season as we were one game away from winning the league this year and then lost in the play-offs.”
Demetriou still looks back fondly on the start of his career and said: “I started at Worthing when I was 16 and then went to Bognor and thank all the managers who helped me at the start of my career. They all helped me get the experience of playing first-team football and, hopefully, I can now continue to progress at Kidderminster.”