Thu, 24 May 2018
THATCHAM captain Tom Melledew was determined to ensure the FA Vase final didn’t end in heartbreak for himself and his teammates.
The Kingfishers beat Stockton 1-0 and Melledew was delighted he could walk up the iconic steps at Wembley to lift the trophy.
Speaking after the game, he said: “It’s unbelievable. I said to the lads on Sunday morning I didn’t want to come off the pitch and people say ‘you did well’ or ‘you got to Wembley’.
“I didn’t want to come off the pitch and feel disappointed.
“I wanted to see it all the way through and I’m glad we have done that.”
Thatcham overcame the likes of Bromsgrove Sporting, Melksham Town and 1874 Northwich to reach the final before the dream became a reality for them.
“In the first early rounds, you just set up to take it round by round,” Melledew said.
“The game I think we really enjoyed was the Sevenoaks game when we played at Waterside Park and beat them 3-1.
“There were about 200 fans there that day and there was a little bit of a different atmosphere and we felt something from that.”
In the fifth round, more than 700 fans packed into Waterside Park to see Thatcham beat Bromsgrove 2-1 and the captain started to believe they could go further.
He said: “I think when we played Bromsgrove we actually thought we could go on to win the whole thing.
“After that game, everyone bought into it and we knew we were close and of course we wanted to go all the way.”
Melledew praised manager Danny Robinson and his management team who have made it a season to remember for Thatcham.
He said: “Fair play to Robbo, all of his staff, the players – everyone involved really.
“I reiterate, I have been here for 10 years on and off and to see all those fans, it gives me goosebumps now thinking about it.
“We’ve been pushing on with the league, but to win the Vase is incredible.”
The Kingfishers will play in the Southern League West next season and Melledew believes it will be the perfect test for them.
He said: “There is obviously a big gap, but I do think we are a Southern League team.
“I know we are better than this league with the players we have brought in.
“It’s going to be hard and it will be a good test for us and that’s what we need to make that step up to the next level.”