It’s a day that went down in Emley’s history ... a village team playing on the hallowed Wembley turf.
Although 30 years may now have passed since Emley AFC played Colne Dynamoes from Lancashire at the old twin towers but for the thousands of fans who made the journey there the memories will remain vivid. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime days.
It was the 1987/1988 season, the team was competing in the Northern Counties East League and the Emley manager was Gerry Quinn.
“Gerry astutely put a very well balanced side together, containing some quality non-league players.
“The team were drawn away in every round of the Vase, but this did not prove an obstacle. The run contained some memorable games against sides such as Bridgenorth Town (beaten 6-0 after a 3-3 draw), Gresley Rovers and Durham City.
The semi-final was against Bashley of the Wessex League. After a 1-1 draw in the away leg Emley could not be complacent at home. The second leg was played in a gale force wind with John Francis, who was to go on to a long professional career with Sheffield United and Burnley, scoring the all important goal to take Emley to Wembley.
“Then 10,000 fans made the journey to the world centre of football on April 23, 1988, while another 5,000 came to cheer Colne Dynamoes from Lancashire. Colne were very much an up and coming non-league club, built and financed by their manager Graham White, a millionaire.
“The match was a very tight affair. Emley had a good claim for a goal turned down following a corner in the first half but though Emley had the better of the match, no goals were forthcoming in normal time.
In extra time Colne got the vital strike as both teams tired. Despite some frantic efforts from Emley, they could not equalise and we tasted defeat under the twin-towers.”
But the season did finish with success as Emley won the league that season.