Wembley outing is King's crowning glory
PUBLISHED: 14:34 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:28 02 July 2010
At the age of 75, Norfolk's 'King of Sport' thought he had seen it all. But now the irrepressible Les King is gearing up to write another new chapter in his well-documented sporting life after watching his beloved Wroxham book their place at Wembley.
At the age of 75, Norfolk's “King of Sport” thought he had seen it all.
But now the irrepressible Les King is gearing up to write another new chapter in his well-documented sporting life after watching his beloved Wroxham book their place at Wembley.
One of the most familiar faces on the local sporting scene is looking forward to adding his distinctive voice to the Wembley roar when the Yachtsmen emerge from the tunnel on May 9 to face FA Vase holders Whitley Bay.
“I am 75 years old and when you get to that age this is like the icing on the cake.
“It's something I thought I would never live to see,” said Les, who is Wroxham life president and even has the main stand named after him at the Trafford Park ground.
“I am so pleased about it. I haven't really even thought about winning the FA Vase. For me the main thing was getting there.”
He added: “I am so pleased that people like Kenny Cooke, Tony Dickerson, Alan Royall and Patt Penn will be getting some reward for all the hard work they have put into the club over the years.
“There are probably about eight people who have been there for over 25 years and have stuck together through thick and thin. I don't think there are too many clubs around like that.”
During his tenure Les has banged the drum for the Yachtsmen at every available oportunity - a cheer-leader in chief for all seasons.
Speak to him about anything and you can bank on him mentioning his Wroxham life presidency at some point, usually quite early in the conversation.
Over the years he's had plenty to shout about as honours arrived on a conveyor belt at Trafford Park during the Bruce Cunningham era. Since 1992 seven Eastern Counties League Premier Division championship triumphs and seven Norfolk Senior Cups helped to turn the Yachtsmen into the most dominant force in local football. There were other trophies aplenty. But curiously they struggled to make a major impact in the FA Vase - until now, ironically during one of the most barren periods for silverware in the club's history. Les believes that good old-fashioned teamwork has been the key. “We have got the best keeper around in Scott Howie and we have had a certain amount of luck, which you need in football,” said Les.
“This team is probably not the best side Wroxham have ever had over the years but the players all work so hard for each other and you have got to give credit to the manager David Batch and his assistants.
“The lads all play for one another and as the season has gone on they have got better as a team - they are on the same wavelength.
“I go into the dressing room and help with the team talks. I have always been made welcome by the managers. I always give people support and encouragement and if somebody isn't doing very well I still give them encouragement.”
Les, who worked on the gate on Saturday as over 1,200 filed through to watch the 2-1 (4-1 agg) win over Whitehawk, hopes the Vase run can be the catalyst for a fan base boost.
“Hopefully now we have got to Wembley we'll be able to get more people through the gate for our games now they have seen what a good team Wroxham are.”