Terry McFlynn holds aloft Sydney’s A-League trophy (Getty Images)
Sydney FC were triumphant in Saturday’s A-League Grand Final, thanks to the efforts of goal-keeper Clint Bolton in the dramatic penalty shoot-out.
But he admits that the victory was bittersweet as his most significant performance for the Sky Blues was also his last.
Bolton produced the save which secured Sydney its first Hyundai A-League championship since 2005, defying Melbourne’s Marvin Angulo with an excellent diving effort to put his side on track for an emotional victory.
But the 34-year-old, who has already signed with new franchise Melbourne Heart for next season, said it was a conflicting moment for him and he shed tears of both joy and sadness
"I’ve been going through a lot in the last few months. Finally, I just let it out. I’ll admit it hasn’t been easy to handle the way I’ve left the club. I’ve just tried to get on with it and train hard and produce some games which I’m pretty comfortable I’ve done," he said.
"I guess it was just a build up of emotion which I let out at that moment. Tears of joy as well as sadness for leaving the club. If you going to go out, you might as well go out that way. I’m happy I went out that way and I’m gonna move on."
Bolton revealed that he never wanted to leave Sydney, the club he has played for since the inception of the Hyundai A-League, but that he had been given little option when he wasn’t offered another contract.
"I wasn’t offered a contract and I had to deal with that and still produce on the park. It was hard going through that. But I’m happy with the way I handled myself through the whole time and now I can be happy with the way I left the club. It’s a good way to leave the club and I’m excited to start with the Heart," he said.
"It was very emotional in there. It’s been a lot of hard work this year to get to this point. I hate to use the word fairytale, it feels a bit unnatural, it’s a bit like fairytale the way it’s ended. Coming down here and winning on penalties, playing a part in it myself. I’m just really happy."
Bolton said he felt a wave of confidence sweep over him as Angulo approached the penalty spot for Melbourne’s third penalty.
"I didn’t even look at him. I heard the crowd behind me trying to put me off a little bit but I thought ‘bugger you I’ve got this one’." he said.
"I really felt that was the one I had. The other ones I wasn’t as confident. This one I knew I had. It’s an educated guess doing the right way. If you wait and he puts it in the corner, then you are never going to get it if you wait. I just felt that was the one I was going to save."
But he felt Sydney was on course for victory when Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat, who has only missed one spot kick in his illustrious Hyundai A-League career, missed with the home side’s second penalty.
"That was the moment. I thought ‘we were going to win this’. That was the moment. I didn’t see it, and I hear it hit the post, and had quick look and it flashed out the right way. I thought you beauty, this is our game."