Remembering the FA Vase Final of 2007
“Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
(Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon”)
Chances are, that if you have been in Cornwall for over a decade and love football, you would have made the long trek to Wembley Stadium, 10 years ago this week end for the 2007 FA Vase Final. Yes, it is true! And what an unforgettable week-end it turned out to be.
I had somehow managed to persuade my former Truro School head master Paul Smith to give his permission for me to have the Friday and Monday off so that I could fulfill my duties as Truro City FC’s videographer. I had filmed most of the games leading up to the final (Newcastle Benfield, Whitehawk and Curzon Ashton) for Kevin Heaney (the Club chairman, who bankrolled the team) and jumped at the chance to film the final. It was incredibly exciting.
If you recall, the game was played on the Sunday, but I climbed aboard the team coach on the Friday morning (11 May) and duly recorded the events as they unfolded: the first visit to Wembley Stadium (where I was able to walk on the hallowed turf), the hotel and surroundings, training at Bisham Abbey on the Saturday morning, the trip to Wembley with the players and managers, the FA Vase Final itself and the victory parade along the streets of Truro into Lemon Quay from an open top double decker bus. It was all sublime and magical. On editing all of the footage, I put together a souvenir double DVD edition of the match and the events either side of it, which was well received at the time. Below are 16 minutes of highlights – sadly, minus commentator and summariser. Dave Deacon joined me a year or two later.
How things have changed since then. Truro City continued their rise through the leagues but have yo-yoed back and forth between the Southern Premiership and the Conference South. They also went into administration and almost out of existence. Thank you Peter Masters (the new chairman) for saving the club. Whilse money is tight, there is the very real prospect of the club joining forces with the Cornish Pirates and sharing the, soon to be built, Stadium for Cornwall. Well, that is what we have been led to believe.
There have been many changes on the videography front as well. In 2007 I was still filming in SD (Standard Definition), on tape and using the old 4:3 standard TV aspect ratio. Now it is tapeless 16:9, HD (and 4K). Then, websites were based on a rigid template that couldn’t be easily updated as they are today. Everything you did had to be exported to DVD. You Tube, Facebook and social media were very much in their infancy,largely unheard of and irrelevant.
I look back at the highlights above and have to cringe a little. The composition of the shots and the editing are generally fine. It is just the lack of commentary, the dreadful indoor lighting and some of the audio on the interviews that really disappoint. No stationary camera behind the goal either.
I still film football, but I pick and choose my matches. This past season I have filmed Cornwall U 18s who just happened to make it all the way to the FA County Youth Cup Final against Middlesex U18s. The game was played at the Hive – the home of Barnet FC, who currently play in the EFL Division 2. Ironically, I stayed at the same hotel as I did 1o years earlier in Maidenhead and filmed another training session at Bisham Abbey. A couple of seasons ago I traveled with AFC St. Austell all the way the the FA Vase semi final. If we can get some sponsorship in place, I am hoping soon to have some good news concerning filming next season. I have a good friend working on our behalf. As for whether I will ever be filming Truro City again, well, I can do no better than quote the old chairman’s stock phrase “Never say never!” They could certainly do with their games being filmed and creating a buzz around the place and on social media.
The picture above features Glynn Hooper – Director of Football at Truro School (and other more senior roles), the then Assistant Player Manager at Truro FC, ten years ago and the current Head Coach of Cornwall U 18s. It was Glynn who first introduced me to Truro City back in January 2007 and we’ve worked together on numerous projects ever since, including a couple of Truro School Rugby / Football tours to South Africa.
What are your memories of the FA Vase Final? Please leave a comment or two.
I have just got in from Truro City CC (the football club declined the request for hosting) where I was able to meet up with many of the players and fans who were part of that incredible journey to Wembley in 2007. I got a really warm welcome from the former winger Ian Gosling when I arrived and then spoke at some length with Jake Ash, Wembley hero Kevin Wills and Andy Watkins. Chris Webb was there but sadly neither Glynn Hooper or Dave Leonard were available on the day owing to work commitments and holidays. Everyone seemed to enjoy my double DVD that was playing, and it was quite emotional, hearing the names of the players from ten years ago being chanted again and the chorus “Championies” being sung at the top of our voices. I did wonder what sort of reception former chairman Kevin Heaney would have received he turned up. It was his dream. He “bankrolled” the club through that exciting period in the history of the club. He kicked every ball and exuded so much passion for the club. Just a pity that it all turned sour, big time in the end. Nice to see my recent tweets about the celebrations being re-tweeted by AFC Totton. I wonder if I’ll get a similar response from @TCFC_Official. I think that their failure to embrace this anniversary is a massive PR blunder. Pity!