As part of The Bootiful Game’s series of interviews with key players in and around the Buidlbase FA Vase Final we have this week caught up with Thatcham Town Captain, Tom Melledew. Tom has taken time out from his sides busy preparation to talk with us about the clubs form this season which has seen them storm their league, go on an incredible unbeaten run of games which has seen them all the way to the Vase Final and promotion in the Hellenic League, writes Gary Langley.
“It’s good isn’t it? I recall doing an interview in the aftermath of the 1874 Northwich game and I think I said Unbelievable about ten times but it’s such an unbelievable feeling and it still hasn’t really sunk in to be honest.
“We have had so many games thick and fast and the Final itself is approaching, but whilst we celebrated after the Semi-final we have played so often and had league business to attend to we have not really had too much of a chance to think about it. As we come towards the end of the season, we are all really looking forward to it and we are starting to prepare properly for that game and the excitement is starting to build.
“It was great to be promoted and the title is all but in the bag but football sometimes has a funny way of biting you in the backside so you can never take anything for granted but so far it has been a great campaign for us.
“I’ve been three seasons back at the club but this is my second spell at the club, having come through the youth ranks here at Thatcham and played in the first team previously so I’ve been here on and off for ten years. Over time we have built a really strong side, last year we were a bit unlucky we had injuries in the squad, bad ones too with cruciate ligaments going and broken legs and we ended up finishing a bit short of where we wanted to be, we finished fourth in the end. The Manager has strengthened this year and increased the quality in the squad with the likes of Ferdinand and Ratley coming in makes this the strongest squad I’ve played in.
“I’m very proud to be captain of a club I’ve loved and the club I’m playing for, I’ve spent most of my playing career here and as I come towards the end of my career (not imminently I hasten to add) but to reach the Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wembley is something you can only dream of and you never think you will get here, I’m very proud to be Captain.
“I’ve always had dreadful cup runs, I normally end out of a cup in the first or second round but to reach a final of a cup run like this is amazing. The closer that day comes the sooner it becomes a reality I cannot wait to lead the side out at Wembley for arguably the biggest day in the clubs history. It is the same for both clubs when you look at Stockton, they will be in the same boat as us, fans rooting for you, a massive sense of occasion and on the day it will depend on who has the ability to get the goals and last the pace on that massive pitch.
“Stockton are going to be a tough opponent on the day, anyone who gets to a Vase Final are always going to be a tough side to face. I don’t know too much about them at the moment but I do know we have a few people going up to watch them and we will have plenty of information on them when the time comes, but we know for sure they will be a strong side but with what we do and what we know we can go into any game with confidence. Their league is a strong league and you can see a list of previous Vase winners and finalists going back a number of years but we are there on merit and we will be looking on the day to play well and win the game and we know we are capable of doing it.”