Wembley winner's advice for the Yachtsmen
PUBLISHED: 14:46 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:42 02 July 2010
When Wroxham tread the hallowed turf of Wembley next month one former player will be well qualified to give advice because he's been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
When Wroxham tread the hallowed turf of Wembley next month one former player will be well qualified to give advice because he's been there, done that and got the T-shirt…. as well as a winner's medal!
Robert Woodcock, who spent three seasons with the Yachtsmen before he moved to current club Kirkley and Pakefield, savoured success with Bill Punton's Diss Town at the national stadium in 1994.
And he has urged the current crop of Trafford Park favourites, most of whom he knows well, not to let the grand occasion against holders Whitley Bay on May 9 get the better of them.
“My advice to them really is just to take things in your stride and not be overawed by it all,” he said.
“I was a cocky, young lad of 19 anyway and I kind of expected I was going to be doing that sort of thing every year - although that hasn't happened again since,” said the much-travelled, and much-decorated keeper, now a veteran at the age of 36.
He added: “I am not the sort of person to get nervous. My attitude was that I was there to enjoy a game of football not worry about it. So my advice would be to make the most of the occasion.”
One regret Robert did have looking back on the big day was that after Diss's dramatic 2-1 triumph over Taunton, secured with a Paul Gibbs injury-time penalty, and a Peter Mendham extra time winner, he cut short his involvement in the extended after-match celebrations.
“I went to bed early on the night while the other lads stayed up partying. Perhaps the occasion just caught up with me. It was such a roller-coaster game,” he said.
He said nothing could match the unique atmosphere at the historic venue.
“When you first come out of the tunnel and the roar of the crowd hits you it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up on end,” he said.
Robert, who played around 150 games for Wroxham, winning the Ridgeons League Premier Division title and Norfolk Senior Cup while Damian Hilton was manager, added: “I know most of the current players, people such as Danny White and Shaun Howes.”
He wished his former team-mates every success, although he won't be there to watch them, because of a holiday. “Whitley Bay will be the favourites, so Wroxham have got nothing to lose really. So they should just go there, play their game and not let the situation get to them. You have got to have a certain amount of luck to get there, and to win it luck does play a part. I'll certainly be willing them to win,” said the former Norwich United, Cromer, Attleborough and Cambridge United schoolboys custodian.