Wembley still just a dream for McNeil
Paddy DavittWroxham defender Martin McNeil insists the pressure is all on holders Whitley Bay ahead of Sunday's FA Vase final at Wembley. McNeil believes the Yachtsmen have already proved their mettle by claiming a host of highly-rated scalps en route to the biggest day in the Trafford Park club's history.Paddy Davitt
Wroxham defender Martin McNeil insists the pressure is all on holders Whitley Bay ahead of Sunday's FA Vase final at Wembley.
McNeil believes the Yachtsmen have already proved their mettle by claiming a host of highly-rated scalps en route to the biggest day in the Trafford Park club's history.
'In every round we've beaten sides that were fancied,' said the central defender. 'From Armthorpe to Needham to Whitehawk, who I believe were bringing in ex-pros and paying silly money, but we had them watched every round.
'We were prepared and we did a job on them on the day. We've done that from the quarter-final onwards and dealt with the football match really well by watching DVDs and focussing totally on each game.
'It is only 11 versus 11. If anything they are the favourites and maybe the pressure is on them - they have it all to lose. A few people have said to me perhaps our name could be on the cup this year. If people want to think that then fair enough but as players we have to go and do a job like we have done in every single round. We have to keep our discipline and put in a performance.'
McNeil admitted it had still not sunk in that he is poised to appear at the home of football - despite being part of the Wroxham delegation that attended a recent Wembley Press call. 'I don't think it will until we actually walk out of the tunnel,' said the 29-year-old. 'Everything since the semi-final has been nice but its peripheral - the main thing is playing the game and putting in a performance. It was an eye-opener to see how big it is. I'd been to the old stadium to watch games and it's absolutely huge.
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'I was saying to Graham (Challen) if you look at the width of the pitch it won't be that easy to switch play. On the day we'll have to try and conserve our energy as much as possible and make sure we are properly hydrated.
'It's just going to be a good occasion for the club and the lads and hopefully on the day we can put in a good account of ourselves.
'It would be great to see a lot of people travel from Norfolk and it'll be one of the biggest crowds I have played in front of although it will be strange because the majority of the stadium will perhaps not be full.'
McNeil is refusing to contemplate what winning the FA Vase would mean for the Ridgeons League club.
'I just want to get the football match out of the way, rather than think about what might happen,' he said. 'You just hope players don't choke on the day and I'm sure we won't. We have dealt with the occasion to this point and that is what it's all about. If we do that and get a result then hopefully we will get the consequences that come from it.'
t Tickets to watch Wroxham at Wembley on Sunday are priced �25 and �12.50 for under 16s and supporters aged 60 and over. For a full list of outlets selling tickets along with travel information visit wroxhamfc.com or call Trafford Park direct on 01603 783538.