Seager fulfilled childhood dream
Seager fulfilled childhood dream

In the latest part of our “Twenty-two Days in May” series, KSN’s chief football writer Mike Green has been talking with one of the stalwarts of Deal Town’s Vase triumph – we’ve been talking to MARC SEAGER…

“It feels like yesterday, it really does!” Marc admitted. “I can remember most things from the day as though it was just last Saturday – it’s something that will surely live with every single one of us for the rest of our lives.”

“If I’m honest, you’ve got some really good sides in the competition and the year before we won, we’d lost in the Third Round to Tiverton Town – it was a really close game and they beat us 2-1 – but they were a very, very good side and I thought that if that was what we had to do to win it, then we needed to sign some players and that’s what Tommy did.”

“He brought in some really good players – Jamie Kempster, Steve Lovell; a lot of experience – and I believe that we could have a run in the competition.”

“Did I believe that we could win it? If honest, no! But the time I started to believe that we could win it was when we went to Crook Town in the fourth round and won three-nil, it was then that I honestly believed that we could win it.”

“We went for a drink afterwards in a local pub as we were staying over after the game and Terry Martin and I were having a chat – no one expected us to go there and win and yet we went up there and won.”

“It was a hard, cold, windy afternoon and I remember that final whistle, sitting in the changing room thinking that was the game where we proved ourselves and we could go all the way! That gave the whole team a massive confidence boost as well…”

“Thing is that no-one remembers the losers at Wembley and whilst it was great to get there and achieve it, the support that we got from the supporters of Deal Town and the whole Kent League was amazing and later on in my career when I was manager at Whitstable, Tony Rouse who was my Chairman, he told me once that he was at a wedding in Deal on Vase Final day, and he said it was like going into a ghost town!”

“What made Wembley special for me and everyone else I’m sure was that it was at the “old” Wembley Stadium – it was the stadium that we’d dreamed of winning at growing up as a kid.”

“Playing football in the back garden or at the park with your mates, it was always Wembley and the Twin Towers. And it was absolutely amazing to get there. You’d heard stories about the pitch being heavy and make your legs feel really tired and I’ll tell you now it was!”

“I started playing centre half before Monty’s (Dave Monteith) injury; made sure I was wearing studs as I didn’t want to fall over and I had to change my boots as for the first time ever playing football, I got blisters!”

“To think that I’ve played at Wembley and won, and Wembley and my feet were killing me – I’d never had blisters from football boots in my life, and I’ll always remember afterwards that my feet were so sore!”

“It was also hard to get your breath but that might have been because of nerves as well but it was just a day that was absolutely scorching!”

“When Monty went off, Tommy moved me to left back as we changed formation – I’d played there the season before, between there and the centre of midfield, and I remember at the beginning of that season, we had a suspension and Tommy said to me that he wanted me to play centre half for a couple of games.”

“He thought it gave us natural balance and I stayed there. It was a bit surreal really at Wembley because my job was to mark Steve Tweedle – the boss was very professional and had assigned everyone a role – and that’s all I’d thought about all night to make sure I was ready for that.”

“Then all of a sudden, I was playing wide left and it threw me for a little but at the end of the day that team could adapt, and we did that day. Honestly though, it may not have been the best spectacle, but it was a great game to play in.”

And so to the goal that changed history. “I remember being there on the half way line and I saw Marshy (Steve Marshall) going down (the wing) and he’s crossed it over and I saw it coming to Roly (Graham) and I’m thinking “control and get a strike on goal” but he didn’t worry about any control as he just volleyed it straight into the roof of the net – I was right behind it and as soon as it left his foot there was no other place that the ball was going!”

“By that time I was too knackered to try and catch him for any celebrations – Terry Martin and I geed each other up so that we wouldn’t get sloppy and lose what we’d worked so hard for as you’re brought up in football that the most dangerous time to concede is straight after you score!”

“The clock at Wembley stops at ninety minutes and injury time seemed to go on and on and on forever. I kept looking at the scoreboard and thinking it was the longest ninetieth minute ever,” Marc admitted.

“I honestly thought that the clock had stopped, but when that final whistle went, there’s a great picture – that’s on my wall at home – of me and Terry on the half way line and he’s got his arms up and I just remember us grabbing each other and that was my boyhood dream was achieved right there and then!”

Next time, the “Twenty-two Days in May” spotlight heads back to the Deal Town Press Box and we get the memories of regular KSN writer Peter Guise…