Although it’s difficult to predict anything with confidence during the current times one thing is certain: Tommy Sampson will be marking the 20th anniversary of the club’s FA Vase triumph on Wednesday by re-living once again that momentous day at Wembley .
The man who was in charge of the team on May 6th, 2000 when the Hoops became the only Kent club to have lifted the trophy, thanks to Roly Graham’s superb late volley against Chippenham, said: “I’ve got a 20-minute highlights‘ video and I play it all the time. I know exactly when Roly’s goal comes on the tape and the celebrations that took place (immediately afterwards) must have been some of the longest that the stadium had ever seen.
“I remember jumping over the advertising hoarding and getting to the touchline and I was going to run on the pitch but the linesman pulled me back. As for Roly, he ran behind the goal and then to the corner flag which at the old Wembley was a long way!”
Tommy added: “Roly was a great player for me and (captain) Terry Martin was a real leader, but I can’t really single out any one individual because every member of the team played their part in helping us to achieve what we did.
“A lot of them had been with me for quite a few years so they knew exactly how I wanted us to play. We were like a well-oiled machine and we were good to watch as well. Steve Marshall was sharp and with a lot of pace, Steve Lovell was very experienced, and the “three centre-halves” system that we used, with Terry (Martin), Jason Ash and Marc Seager, was also key.
“Chippenham were a good side, physically strong and well organised, and we rowed our luck a little bit at times. But I’ve always said that if you get a little bit of luck, then you’ve got to make the most of it – and we did!”