The Bootiful Game has spoken with Alex Gudger, an experienced Defender who has been one of the defensive rocks that has kept the ship steady at the back as the club have progressed to this season’s Buildbase FA Trophy Final. The former Rugby Town, Worcester City & Nuneaton man has been one of the stand out players for them this season and was also instrumental in Brackley reaching the final as it was his goal that gave his side the slender advantage in the first leg, writes Gary Langley.
“It has been a good season for us and with hopefully the play-offs looming in the Vanarama National League North as well as the almost luxury of a Wembley Cup Final appearance it could be a very good season for us. I joined the club from Nuneaton with a couple of other lads all in one go and there is never a dull moment, we train Tuesday and Thursday and play Saturday and we have done ok. There are huge demands on you as a player but we have a good group and are a close unit which is handy being the most southern side in a Northern League. That quality stems from the top with Kevin Wilkin the Manager and players like the skipper, Gareth Dean all keeping things together, Adam Walker, all of whom have worked with the Manager before and that is what he has done.
“It benefits you being in amongst familiar faces and players who all have the same work ethic and it creates a good atmosphere around the players and makes things easier for you on and off the park. You are playing with your mates, your mates just happen to be good footballers too, you can go to football after a bad day at work and just let off some steam. All around the squad we have some very talented players as well as depth in the squad and that has shown in the improvements we have made this season.
“We have come up against full-time players and to be honest with you the fitness levels aren’t too different, we all look after ourselves outside of football so we have been able to match full time sides both domestically and in cup competitions. On the day it is a one off 90 minute game and anything can happen. Full time teams tend to keep the ball for longer and are more drilled technically, we pass a ball really well and have a good mix in the squad, non-league isn’t all about keeping the ball, it can get a bit messy at times and it can be a great leveller.
“Last season we lost in the FA Trophy Quarter finals against York City, and they went on to win it, you have to take your hats off to them but you do wonder what might have been. The mood around the club is upbeat, we have good people around the place and we are all looking forwards. To be fair we don’t perhaps have the biggest following as we are only a small town stuck in between Northampton and Milton Keynes but the following we do have are loyal, they’re familiar faces and we can go away to a game and see familiar faces, few in number but strong on loyalty.
“We can beat anyone on our day, sometimes we have good results and sometimes bad results but we have to take it on the chin, the frequency of the games this season is as such that if you lose on a Saturday you can try and bounce back on a Tuesday. We are hoping to build momentum for the play-offs and Wembley.
“We have all been fitted for suits just after training the other night and we are looking forward to the occasion, we are training at Arsenal’s Training Facility at Colney on the day before the Final and we are staying over and making a full weekend of it. We will be ready for it on the day and we are not just going to turn up there for stadium selfies or to wave at the family, we are going to go and try and win the game and set out to do so.
“We will have prepared well and have had Bromley watched and from a personal perspective I am hoping to play, I have gone all season playing regularly but sods law I had a problem with a quad muscle last week so I’ve a bit of work to do but I fully expect to be available for the game. It should be a great occasion for all concerned not just for the clubs taking part but for non-league fans as a whole, it’s the big Non-League day out and hopefully we can cap the day off with a win.”
A huge thank you to Alex for the interview and to Gary for writing the piece.