Wembley special: Lucky Les!
English Barclays Premiership
Les Ferdinand was the lucky one.
Back in 1986, he had his first taste of the Wembley Stadium experience as he stepped out for Southall in non-league football’s showpiece FA Vase Final.
And he will never forget his manager’s team talk that day.
Ferdinand recalled: “I always remember the manager saying ‘one of you may be lucky and be able to come back here sometime in a professional capacity but some of you will never play here again so relish it’ and I remember everyone looking around the room thinking ‘who will be coming back here again’ and that it probably wouldn’t be any of us. Luckily it was me.”
The ex-England striker admits Wembley — which houses its last match against Germany on Saturday - has been good to him.
He said: “I’ve had a couple of good games there and I’ve two great memories — the Worthington Cup Final and being voted man-of-the-match for England against Poland in a World Cup qualifying match.”
And if you ever doubted what it meant for a professional footballer to play under the Twin Towers, just ask Ferdinand.
He explained: “The first time you walk up that tunnel — only walking up it would you then be able to describe it.
“All the nerves are there and all of a sudden, it’s like a having a trapped bird in a cage and then you let it out into the wilderness. That is the only way to describe it.
“You have all the nerves, all the feelings and you walk up that tunnel and all the nerves come to a head. It’s almost like a drum roll. You come to the end of it and bang, you are walking out into this arena. It is an unbelievable buzz.
“The noise is unbelievable. It’s really hard to explain. When I think about it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up
“It’s something that every professional should be able to experience at one stage in their career.”