Wembley final is still on for Bailey
NOT wanted by Woodbridge Town in the summer of 2006, Mark Bailey could be lifting the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium on May 11.The Needham Market skipper is confident the Ridgeons League side can overcome a first leg, semi-final 3-2 deficit against Kirkham and Wesham in the second leg at Bloomfields on Saturday.
NOT wanted by Woodbridge Town in the summer of 2006, Mark Bailey could be lifting the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium on May 11.
The Needham Market skipper is confident the Ridgeons League side can overcome a first leg, semi-final 3-2 deficit against Kirkham and Wesham in the second leg at Bloomfields on Saturday.
And his story typifies the romance and magic of the FA Vase - a competition that gives an amateur player the opportunity to play at Wembley.
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Bailey played over 500 matches for Woodbridge, and he said today: “It became obvious that I had become surplus to requirements at Notcutt's Park.
“It was a blow; of course it was after all those games.
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“But when my best mate as a lad Danny Laws was appointed manager of Needham he rang me up - and it has been all magic since then.”
Apart from the odd suspension, Bailey has been a virtual ever present and central midfield fulcrum while Laws has advanced Needham into serious league title contenders as well as FA Vase semi-finalists.
After going two goals up against Kirkham in the first leg in Lancashire, it was disappointing to concede three goals.
But Bailey is optimistic his rags to riches rise can be topped off with games at Portman Road and Wembley.
Needham have already qualified for the S1 Sport Suffolk Premier Cup final where they meet Leiston at Portman Road.
“To play at both venues in a short space of time would be a dream,” added Bailey.
“Kirkham are a good side, who would be high in our division. The fact that they will feel they have one foot at Wembley will work in our favour.
“There will certainly be no complacency on our part now and we have all to play for. With the help of our supporters cheering us on I am confident we can win on aggregate.”
Bailey revealed that he has not started to think about Wembley yet. “I have tried to keep my mind away from that dream,” he said.
“It is worse for our fans than it is for us - we have plenty to get our teeth into.”
Bailey played youth and schools football with Laws and they were best mates at the time.
And the player who spent most of one season in goal for Woodbridge will ensure Kirkham will not have a minute's piece on Saturday.
“We have fancied ourselves to do well from the start, and have collected some good results along the way,” he added.
“We have taken it a step at a time, and have one more big leap to make.
“We have kicked too many balls and travelled too many miles to let it slip now.”