“2009…this would be the Glossop North End final, our first visit to the new Wembley, in fact we were the first north east team to get there and we had every intention of enjoying it. Gav had done his usual fantastic scouting mission and came back with everything we needed to match and better them. I remember Gav or Cugs possibly both of them reeling off what their manager had said and how they were the best, strongest team and the final should be a walk over. Now I am not saying Gav & Cugs might have exaggerated but I was wound up good and proper!

Several things really stick out, namely before the match my dad said to me, “Now Ian, no one remembers the finalists, only the winners”.  How true he was, I had to look up who we played on google!

Another great memory was our bus trip down from Sunderland (yes Sunderland, I could have said North East, but Sunderland is where I was born ) was Lee Picton’s speech, the one from Any Given Sunday (American Football) but oh so true, it goes:
“You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That’s, that’s part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game life or football the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or to early you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game every minute, every second.”

I am sure you can just imagine Picka’s stern face, barking our these immortal words on the bus, with the lads all thinking What’s up with Lee? I knew what was up, Lee was nearing the end of his playing days, and the previous years defeat down at Lowestoft had hurt him, but now he was on the big stage and he wanted to deliver, and didn’t he just, those long (very long) throws were a joy to watch, as the crowd urged him on, he threw them further and further, almost put one in the net!  Great memories!

My final memory to note, was one about three players who weren’t even involved with Whitley on the day, Mr Brian Smith, Tony Woodhouse and a certain Mr Robbie Livermore, all three gate crashed the after match party, which was honestly a little dull until they barged in, singing and shouting ‘N and an E and a W C’. Robbie was on top form, he loved it, loved the banter and just enjoyed everyone’s company, he and the two ugly brothers Bri and Woody certainly entertained us, what a night!”