Twenty years on, Terry Martin remains the only captain of a Kent club to have lifted a winners’ trophy at Wembley, and here, in an interview with Mike Green, chief football writer for the Kent Sports News website (www.kentsportsnews.com), the Hoops skipper relives his memories of that special day.
“I’m surprised if I’m honest,” Terry admits, “I know its very hard to win the Vase – we competed in it for years before we got anywhere near Wembley and lifting the trophy, we got some really tough away draws at places like Diss and Taunton and we played Tiverton at home, it’s very difficult to win with so many teams in it. Still, twenty years on and I’m surprised as a couple of teams have gone close with Tunbridge Wells and last year Cray Valley. It is difficult once you get to Wembley just to go that extra bit further to actually come out as winners.”
The team spirit in the Deal side was amazing to watch as Terry remembered, “Tommy demanded a lot of commitment from the players and was a great tactician who went into great detail on the opposition – he’d watch them quite a few times and set up his game plan around that – their strengths and how they were at set-pieces things like that which at the time was probably a bit unique – it happens all the time now but he was ahead of the game twenty years ago and I think all of that planning came out and got us through some sticky moments in the run to Wembley.”
“The build up to the final was very nervy as you can imagine never having been at Wembley in a national final. We’d been in a few Kent finals but that was something completely different and we’d never been in that position before – we’re in the hotel and get a motor-cycle escort taking you from the hotel through West London to Wembley Stadium was an absolutely amazing experience and I remember standing most of the way on the coach just watching in amazement the way the police motor-cycles were stopping the traffic to let us through – that was amazing before we even got to the ground. We went to the ground the day before to have look round and look in our changing room – we were in the away changing room and didn’t get to see the home dressing room which was a shame!”
“It was amazingly hot on the day itself – it was ninety-plus degrees pitchside – it was so draining because you’ve heard all the stories about how heavy going Wembley is. It looks fantastic but the pitch is quite draining and having the heat on top of that. I remember just coming up to half-time feeling absolutely shattered and thinking “how am I going to get through the second half?”
“We started the game well and then poor Dave Monteith got a really bad injury and it knocked us back for a while as we were forced into a change of formation at the back and it took a bit of getting used to and we lost a bit of momentum. We gradually got it back, but it certainly provided a few problems to begin with.”
“We seemed to defend a lot and absorb a lot of pressure although there weren’t too many clear-cut chances. Obviously the one really good chance, Roly (Graham) took with some aplomb with that fantastic volley! I remember seeing Steve Marshall going down the wing and crossing the ball in and remember seeing Roly standing there with no-one marking him and I was shouting at the top of my head for him to control it! Thankfully, he ignored me and volleyed the ball into the net. It was fantastic and you’re not going to score many better goals at Wembley than Roly’s goal and I was just hoping he was going to control it as he had so much time. And the timing of the goal was fantastic – the 87th minute – so we only had a few minutes added on and it was great time for us to score! We had three- or four-minutes injury time but it seemed like half an hour – it just went on and on and on…”
“I just remember the final whistle which was an amazing experience and there’s was a photograph taken with me in mid-air with my hand in the air with all the Deal fans behind me and Marc Seager’s back to the camera and the Chippenham player on the floor with his head in his hands! It just captured the whole moment for us and the amazing feeling of winning.”
“I remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck as I was led up the steps – they are now as I remember it now – its an amazing feeling when you relive it and one of those experiences that you’ll never forget. When I was given the Vase and turned round to show it to the Deal supporters which was fantastic – I have to admit that the Chippenham fans were terrific too! We were all stunned running along the pitch with all the lads showing it off to the fans and then remember all the photographs down one end of the pitch.
“Afterwards I thought we were going to have a really good celebration but partly down to the ninety degree heat we were so exhausted when we went back to the hotel and I just remember sitting on the floor as I was shattered drinking orange juice and lemonade when I could do with just going to bed! It certainly wasn’t the celebration that I expected!”