Wembley FC v Potton United
The FA Carlsberg Vase
First Round Qualifying
3pm, Saturday 7 September 2013
Winning club will receive £600 from The FA prize fund
First Round Qualifying ties
by Ben Fisher
Retiring Wembley FC player-manager Ian Bates turned groundsman is doing all he can to ensure his last kick is a FA Vase triumph.
The Lions club motto is 'from possibility to reality' and Bates is hoping that his final on-field contribution for Wembley FC will be underneath the famous Wembley arch.
Bates turns 40 this year and knows the club better than anybody having made over 800 appearances for the Lions and has managed them for the last eight years.
"I have played a few games," he said. "Being player-manager has got easier and having played 25 years of senior football, it is quite easy now.
"I am 40 this year so I think I will give it a good shot in my last season and then I'm done. I can't be doing it any more. After playing 50 games last year, I think it took me a while to recover in pre-season.
He added: "Going to Wembley in the final of The Vase would be the icing on the cake. I think I would definitely have to retire after that. It would not be a bad last game."
Former footballing professionals joined the club for their short-lived FA Cup ride although such faces will not be present for this Cup run.
The likes of Ray Parlour, Martin Keown and Graeme Le Saux put their boots back on but player-manager Bates said being without them this time around is not an issue.
"It was good for the days they were here and it was good for the club," he said. "It was good for non-league football in general. But, it doesn't matter who you have in your team if you get a good draw and play well on the day."
Bates is all too aware of the history that surrounds a club where the World Cup winning 1966 England squad trained - and used the Wembley FC pitch as their base camp.
He keeps the pitch in order ready for match-days too but recognises that all visitors have their eyes glued on just one thing prior to kick-off.
"Stood next to the pitch you can see the big looping arch," he said. You can walk to it in four or five minutes.
"I was here when they had the twin towers, that was when you could see the stadium but not as prominent as it is now. I have been here so long I do not really notice it now.
"Other clubs do, though. They come down and take a picture while making sure the arch is in the background. It is a special place," he added.