29 December 2012

A trip down Memory Lane, courtesy Stewart Yetton. By Mike Truscott.

The following text has been republished here by kind permission of Mike Truscott.  Additional images by Steve Rogers.  This is the perfect pick-me-up for those of you who are getting upset by the cancellation of three games on the bounce!

MORNING AGAIN, EVERYONE

Rotten luck on the weather front once more, so as a little diversion how about a trip down Memory Lane, courtesy of the one and only STEWART YETTON? It's nearly six years now since the greatest moment in the club's history. Here's an opportunity to relive some of that Wembley magic through the eyes of Yettsi, one of the heroes of the day!

I'm currently developing a spin-off business from my mainstream Golden Replay Biographies. This will be a new service expressly designed for sports stars, past and present. To this end, I am working with Stewart to create a "dummy" book for marketing imagery purposes. I have ghost-written an autobiographical chapter for him recalling City's FA Vase triumph in 2007.
 
MY WEMBLEY DREAM
COMES TRUE



The final was on a Sunday – May 13, 2007 – and we were very much a part

of history, and not just for ourselves as record-breakers for Cornish football.

All the talk just then was of the “new Wembley.” The fabulous new stadium

was hosting its first final – for the FA Trophy – on the Saturday and ours, for

the FA Vase, followed 24 hours later.
 

We actually travelled up to London two days ahead of our dream match with

AFC Totton. Everyone – the squad, club directors and officials, and various

others – had to meet in Truro at around 8 a.m. on the Friday. Usually, for

away games, the boys would make their own way to Exeter and get on the

coach there, but this was different, of course. I came down by car from

Plymouth with my lifelong buddy and team-mate Marcus Martin, who was

doing the driving. We’ve been playing football together since we were 10 or

11. We were at Argyle together and we’re always room-mates when we’re

staying overnight ahead of a match.
 
 

When we reached Truro, we stopped first at Tesco to stock up with fluids and

sweets. We were wearing our Truro City tracksuits and it seemed everybody

knew us and was talking about us! In Tesco, I remember the staff and

customers coming up to us and wishing us well for Wembley. And the coach

was something else. It was a different era then and we were incredibly

privileged to be part of a club where money seemed to be no object. We

always had a great coach to travel away on anyway, but this one gave new

meaning to luxury. It had the lot – truly “top of the range,” with Playstations,

TV, super seats, tables and a kitchen at the back.
 

It took us straight to Wembley, where we arrived around the middle of the day.

The stadium officials had invited us in to have a walk around and get a feel of

the place – and WHAT a place! It was only about 60 yards between the

coach and the ground. We got out and straightaway we could see a section

of the lush green pitch and the red seats on the other side. And then there we

all were – walking on this famous turf and taking in the vast tiers of

accommodation all around us. Wow, was that an exciting moment. Words

can scarcely describe it. It just took our breath away.
 

We must have spent a good hour just walking around that pitch, taking it all in,

and then climbing up the steps towards the level where we were already

picturing ourselves lifting that trophy two days later. Talk about photo

 
 

opportunities. Our cameras never stopped clicking! There was a terrific

atmosphere in the place even then, with Madonna constantly playing over the

PA system. The excitement level was unbelievable – but I was also aware of

a little bit of fear creeping in. I was beginning to think: “What if we LOSE on

Sunday? It could be the worst day of my life instead of the greatest.”
 

Then it was on to our hotel, which was another last-word-in-luxury affair on

the outskirts of London. It was bags down and into our rooms. The food here

was so good – and with everything you could possibly ask for – that it was

difficult not to make ourselves suddenly overweight for the Sunday!

Next day, the Saturday, we had a light training session at Bisham Abbey, the

training base for many great sports teams over the years, including the

legendary Barcelona football squad. It’s got loads of soccer pitches and we

learnt that the Russian Under-19 team were there at the same time. There

was a big lake, with crews rowing up and down, and a nice golf course.
 
 

Our own training session was definitely what you would call “light.” Normally,

when we train on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it can all get pretty competitive

and we can end up crashing into each other. This time, no-one was in the

market for over-exertion and risking injury just before the biggest match of

their lives! Poor old Glyn Hooper – a fellow striker and assistant coach with

our manager Dave Leonard – was already suffering the heartbreak of missing

the game through suspension.
 
 

Back in the hotel that afternoon, we watched the FA Trophy Final live on Sky

Sports TV. We also saw the weather forecast – which told us that it was likely

to be wet for our own match. It was sunny and warm on the Saturday, and

one of the facilities we enjoyed at the hotel was the outdoor hot tub! It also

had a gym and sauna area. The hotel had beautiful grounds and overlooked

a massive lake.
 

That evening we played cards in the foyer and the rule was that we at least

had to be in our bedrooms – even if we couldn’t be fast asleep! – by 10 p.m.

Me and Marcus are renowned for being last to bed, and there was no way we

were going to get to sleep quickly on this of all nights. So there we were,

sitting on our beds with our laptops open and watching the TV. I think we

eventually got to sleep around 1 a.m.!
 

We put our alarms on for 9.30 a.m. but we were both awake well before then.

I’m the joker in the squad, so I straightaway ran round the bedroom screaming

my head off; then I grabbed hold of Marcus and said something like: “C’mon,

boy, today’s the day!”
 
 

I had a “bit of breakfast” (well, actually, it was a big fry-up!) and around 11-ish

we had our lunch – chicken pasta and beans. We also watched an

inspirational DVD which I think had been put together by Piran Films. It was a

compilation of highlights from all our games on our way to Wembley and was

accompanied by motivational music and voice-over. That was a spine-tingling

thing – hairs standing up on the back of your neck – I can tell you.

 
 

Before we left the hotel, we had pep talks from Kevin Heaney and Chris Webb

as well as Lenny and Hoops. And then it all really started to hit us. We

showered up and put our smart new suits on. We were all dressed the same

– even had brand new shoes. As I say, different era. (I don’t think “credit

crunch” was even on the horizon then, although not far off it, and certainly

“austerity” was just another word in the dictionary.)


We did each other’s ties up – Marcus doing mine and me doing the finishing

touches on his. We looked fabulously smart. They were really great suits –

we had all been measured up for them three weeks earlier. Then it was out of

Reception and onto the coach – and more photos.


The trip to Wembley, in the drizzle, was about half an hour. When we got

there, the sight of fans with their scarves and hats already milling about the

place brought it all home to us – once more. It had been a bit of a slow crawl

towards the end, with lots of police around, too, and our fans immediately

began clapping, cheering and chanting once they saw us. It was brilliant –

and a just a little bit nerve-wracking!


We arrived in the stadium at about 1.15 – and walked out on to the pitch once

more, in the classic Wembley final fashion. I remember I was the only player

intelligent enough to have brought a brolly with me – so picture the scene if

you can, with six or seven other players all trying to get desperately close to

me to share that brolly and stop their lovely suits getting wet!
 

The changing rooms were massive. There was also a warm-up area and

from there, through the doors, I could see my daughter Shannon, then aged

six. We were all accompanied hand-in-hand by little mascots, wearing mini-

Truro City shirts, when we eventually walked out on to the pitch for real, and

mine was Shannon, with her blonde hair and starry blue eyes. I had heard my

name read out, as Truro’s No 9, plus seen the team line-ups on the giant

screens.
 
 

I am pretty sure it was Shannon’s first-ever football match – what a way to

start, eh! She’s now 12 and is playing the game regularly in Durham, where

she lives. It was a very touching experience, I can tell you, to be standing

there with my little girl on the Wembley pitch while the National Anthem was

played. I also knew that Laura, with my son Corradi just two weeks away

from birth, was up there in the stands – along with many other family and

friends.
 

The match itself? I remember putting one over the bar, but Totton took the

lead and I can still see their scorer running the length of the field back to his

own supporters at the other end, in celebration. We were very aware that one

part of the crowd were going wild with delight and I guess the scale of the

challenge really hit us at this point. I thought: “Oh Christ, we’ve really got our

work cut out here.” Truth to tell, we were a bit off the pace in that first half.

Totton were “first to start,” as they say, but our Kevin Wills equalized just

before the interval and the match, and our spirits, were transformed.

 
 

That was the best possible time to equalize, of course. It took us in on a high

at half-time – and Totton the exact opposite. As we returned to the field, you

could see the resolve in all our eyes. The mood now was: no way are we

going to lose this one!
 

I thought we dominated the second half and certainly got our just rewards

when Willser scored his second, around the 66
th minute. But then this fear
factor thing started to kick in again. In a situation like that, you’ve always got

conflicting thoughts – do you concentrate on defending what you’ve got or do

you go all out for a third, “killer” goal? It’s very easy to sit back and go into

negative mode, and I can’t deny I kept looking at the clock!
 

Fortunately, Joe Broad, another of my ex-Argyle mates, came up with a third

goal for us on around 84 minutes and that clinched it. It killed off the “fear.” I

had not scored – something of a rarity for me, you might say – but I would

much rather be on the winning side and not score, than vice versa. If I had

scored but we had lost, there’s no doubt in my mind that it would have been

the worst day of my sporting life, instead of the best.


The final whistle was not long away. Legs were going, I was cramping – safe

to say, we had probably burnt up more energy than normal! When that

whistle did blow, it was a huge relief and incredible joy, with a massive

adrenalin rush. We were the first Step 6 team ever to win the Vase (and had

done it against a team higher than us, at Step 5).
 

We were diving and dancing all over the place, and then it was time to walk

up those steps and collect the trophy. Skipper Tom Smith kissed it and raised

it high in the air – to enormous cheers from our fans. That was the most

incredible moment – amazing scenes and emotions. It was the sort of

moment every footballer dreams of from the time he starts kicking a ball

around as a kid – and for most, of course, it remains just that, a dream. But

for me, my dream had come true. And now it was time to start the

celebrations . . .

 

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