There was only one thing on Rotherham United captain Richard Wood’s mind after getting his hands on the Papa Johns Trophy.
It wasn’t his new choice of neckwear nor the gleaming silverware he’d just parted with to allow his team-mates to take it for a spin. Instead, it was how he could prolong the unbridled joy of playing for the Millers.
“I don’t want to stop. Why would I?” he queried, wearing a grin which stretched from ear to ear. “I’ll play until somebody tells me I’m not good enough. I want to keep that going. I’m playing a massive part in what we do.”
The veteran skipper – the Club’s longest-serving player – shared an embrace with his two young sons while covered in champagne spray in among the throng in the stands after wearing the armband for the full 120 minutes, with extra-time needed to separate Rotherham and Sutton United.
Despite any reservations that might come with his status as one of the more senior players in Paul Warne’s dressing room, Wood is showing no signs of slowing, even as he made the all too familiar circuit up the Wembley steps to the balcony to retrieve the silverware – a path well-trodden by the leader himself.
“I’m just enjoying my time. That’s why I’m keeping playing at my age. My happy mind keeps me carrying on. I get aches and pains like you’d expect, but I love coming in to training every day. I love every minute.
“The gaffer’s put a lot of trust in me to stay here that long. He keeps giving me contracts which I’m happy about.”
The central defender, who steered the South Yorkshire side to a Wembley win four years ago, scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury Town in the 2017/18 Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final.
And Wood revealed he already has plans to put his medals in pride of place, side-by-side, but not before the day eventually comes for him to hang up his boots – if it ever comes.
“I haven’t sorted them out yet, but I’ll definitely be framing them, or something at some point!” he exclaimed.
“While I’m still playing, I don’t really want to do that yet. I want to keep going and getting as many as I can. The next one will hopefully be a promotion. That’s what we’ll focus on next.”
Although the 36-year-old wasn’t on the scoresheet in Rotherham’s latest outing to the capital, he was simply delighted to lift a second trophy in Millers colours since his arrival from Charlton Athletic in 2014.
“We just need to enjoy the moment and celebrate creating memories like this,” he reflected. “It doesn’t happen very often. We’ve been to Wembley a few times, but it might be the last one for a long time, you never know.”
Make the most of it, they will!