Potter experiences magical Wembley walk

THE great and the good in the football world will make the magical climb up the 107 steps of the new Wembley Stadium to collect their medals from the Royal box.

By Elvin King

THE great and the good in the football world will make the magical climb up the 107 steps of the new Wembley Stadium to collect their medals from the Royal box.

It will be the major highlight for most footballers in the 21st century.

And one Ipswich-based goalkeeper was among the first to sample the thrill of it all.


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Danny Potter, a former St Joseph's College pupil who lives in Hawthorn Drive, was substitute goalkeeper for Conference League Stevenage Borough when they beat Kidderminster Harriers 3-2 in the FA Trophy final at Wembley on May 13.

Over 26,000 Stevenage fans were in the competition-record 53,262 crowd to see the first final staged at the re-built national stadium.

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“It was a wonderful experience,” said Potter, who has since signed for fellow Conference League side Cambridge United.

“By the time I reached the top of the steps I was knackered, but it was well worth it.”

Potter disclosed the poser of where players go when they disappear under the stand for a few seconds on the way up from pitch level.

“You go into the stadium for a short way and then do a U-turn on yourself,” explained Potter, who was kept out of the Stevenage first team for most of the season by Alan Julian.

“I was not happy to be out of the side, but it still turned out to be a good year - as I was able to satisfy two ambitions.”

Not only did Potter collect a medal at Wembley he also played at Portman Road for the first time.

“I sat on the bench at Ipswich both for Exeter City in the autumn of 1998 and also for Chelsea reserves, but playing in a reserve league game for Stevenage this season was my first experience of Portman Road.

“And I was in the Colchester United squad - but not on the bench - that won a play-off at the old Wembley in 1997/98 against Torquay.

“The new stadium is nothing like the old one with no tunnel and bigger dressing rooms.”

Potter, who joined Chelsea straight from school and was also with Colchester, Exeter, Farnborough, Weymouth, Felixstowe and Walton United and Canvey Island, has just returned from a Stevenage week-long trip to Las Vegas.

“I was sent off early in the season and lost my first team place,” he said. “I was offered a new deal, but could not risk sitting on the bench again.

“Cambridge United is nearer to home and I have been told I will be first choice keeper.”

Stevenage Borough agreed a four-figure fee with Cambridge and club chairman Phil Wallace said: “Danny was a model pro and won a lot of friends at Borough with his positive attitude. Cambridge made him a good offer and first team football for next season.”

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