Lowestoft skipper so proud to lead side at Wembley

PUBLISHED: 21:30 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:34 10 September 2010

Marcus Saunders.

Marcus Saunders.

Michael Bailey

Lowestoft Town captain Marcus Saunders can barely bring himself to think about the next 24 hours - which will see him lead out his side for the biggest football match in their history.

Michael Bailey

Lowestoft Town captain Marcus Saunders can barely bring himself to think about the next 24 hours - which will see him lead out his side for the biggest football match in their history.

The Blues take on Kirkham & Wesham at Wembley Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) in the FA Vase final and Saunders is well aware he will not only be leading his side out onto the pitch at the world's most famous football arena - he may also be only 90 minutes from walking up the 107 steps to receive the silverware.

"I've had my first sleepless night on Wednesday, when I woke up at about 3am and couldn't get back to sleep again, so that's probably not going to be the best preparation," said the 33-year-old central defender. "I think the nerves are starting to set in.

"But it's been phenomenal. I'm just overawed by everything. I never thought it would be this popular with everyone.

"It has been non-stop; fans and people coming up to you, or popping round to knock on your door and wish you good luck, both here and in neighbouring towns."

But while the reality of the situation will probably only dawn on the Town skipper when the big kick-off finally approaches, Saunders and his team-mates believe the Vase is theirs for the taking and they are putting in the legwork to prove it.

"Everybody's been working very hard and we're sweating buckets at the minute," added Saunders. "We've been training twice a week and had a friendly last week. We're not overdoing it, but just enough to make sure we are fit for Wembley and nothing too silly.

"I think, quietly, we're very confident. We have had a very poor league season but the last few games we have started to play some very good stuff and the confidence is coming back. We have started to play like when we won the league in 2006 and teams haven't been able to contain our attacking play for a whole 90 minutes.

"And the pitch should suit us. We've played on some awful pitches this season. Obviously it is the same for both teams, but we are known to be a footballing side and have struggled at times against more physical sides. But on the big pitch at Wembley, I'm sure it will give us the chance to carve them open."

Should tomorrow's showdown go to plan for Saunders, he admitted there is a twinge of temptation to finish his career on the biggest high possible - but only a twinge.

"I'm extremely proud to lead Lowestoft Town out at Wembley. All my family and friends have said they're proud of what I have achieved and if I do get to lift the Vase, it will be the best moment of my career; the absolute pinnacle," said Saunders.

"It [retirement] has been in the back of my mind. It would be very hard to retain the Vase if we did win it but I don't know, I'm not sure yet. I've been told by the managers, friends etcetera that as long as my legs are working I have to keep playing.

"I'm trying not to think about any of it too much. The fans at the new Wembley feel closer than the old one and to have that amount of support, 15,000 fans, doesn't bear thinking about - otherwise I won't get any sleep until Monday."

Become a supporter

This newspaper company has followed Norwich City through good times and bad. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce in depth coverage that makes a measurable difference to our community. OTBC

Norwich City Video

Norwich City Audio

Norwich City Stats

The Pink Un magazine

cover
A must-read for any Norwich City fan with in-depth, straight-talking, analysis from the best writers around.
Purchase

Latest from the Pink Un - Norwich City Football Club News