Wembley final anniversary looming for Rainworth MW

As well as being their centenary year, Rainworth MW are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of their legendary FA Vase final at Wembley against Forest Green Rovers in April.

Thursday, 24th February 2022, 1:07 pm
Roy Timms looks at his shirt from the big day at Wembley
Roy Timms looks at his shirt from the big day at Wembley

Only the second fully amateur team ever to reach the Vase final at Wembley, the day ended in a 3-0 defeat, but will forever live on in local minds.

Former Chad journalist and Wrens press officer/tannoy announcer Gordon Foster said: “We were only the second true amateur team who actually paid subs to play to reach Wembley.

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“And we were up against semi-pros in the competition. No one has done it since. It's all semi-pros who get there now.

“It is debatable to this day now many fans we took. The official attendance was 12,500 but I think more than that went down from Nottinghamshire!

Roy Timms, who was 'sponge man' at Wembley and a current turnstile operator, said: “That was the season that really put Rainworth on the map nationally

“When Brian Phillips came in from Clipstone about 75/76, he had won the league with Clipstone. Alan Wright twisted his arm to come here. He went on to win us the title six years in a row.

“What really helped us get to Wembley was it was a bad winter with lots of games called off through snow. But the Vase games carried on and we played three in consecutive weeks that carried us from the first to fourth round.

“In those days you only had 14/15 players and were only allowed one sub, so the same lads played week in, week out.

“You wouldn't believe it now but for the second leg semi-final down here there was a crowd of 5,071, which even after 40 years is still a competition record outside of Wembley. For a little club like us it was absolutely amazing. You couldn't believe it.

“We had a big grass bank down one side and another behind one goal, which meant we were able to get them all in.

“Average attendance now is about 80 though we did 140 recently against Shirebrook.

“We just can't seem to get people in. People pass by the club everyday and all the info is out there but we just can't seem to get them in now.”

He continued: “My mate Terry West came here from Clipstone when Phillips came in the mid-70s. I stayed with them until about 83/84 after Wembley.

“I was classed as the sponge man at Wembley but didn't get chance to go on the pitch.”

Roy did have a short break from the club.

“I had a lad of my own and wanted to help him along,” he said.

“I only had a couple of seasons with him in youth league football then started coming back down here again to support them.

“One day Les asked me what I was like putting records on so I got back involved. We had two gate men who were quite elderly, one unfortunately passed away so I was then asked to go on the gate.

“But this is my club. I am from Rainworth and it's where I want to be. We've got some happy memories and one or two sad ones.”