The Buildbase FA Trophy

A foot in both Trophy camps for Steve Claridge

Friday 21 Mar 2014
Claridge has played for both Cambridge United and Gosport Borough

Steve Claridge expects an interesting Trophy Final on Sunday and the former Cambridge United and Gosport Borough man knows just what it means to win at Wembley.

During his time with the U's, Claridge was part of the side that won the 1990 Fourth Division play-off final at the old Wembley.

And the TV pundit also scored the winner for Leicester City in the 1997 League Cup final under the old Twin Towers.

 

Cambridge United v Gosport Borough

The FA Carlsberg Trophy
The Final
3pm, Sunday 23 March
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Winners receive £50,000
Runners-up receive £25,000
By Luke Edney

 

 

"We had a fantastic side that had a good style of play," recalled Claridge.

 

"At Cambridge, I really learnt to be a pro. Everybody knew their jobs and knitted together. We had a quality side that worked very hard for each other so it was really good time in my career. I still look out for how they get on now.

 

"In that play-off final, I remember telling Dion Dublin where to stand for the corner. I can't believe that I had actually been listening in a training session but he stood where he was supposed to and headed it straight in."

 

Cambridge are considered strong favourites to win The Trophy this year, but the Gosport team come into the game in good form.

And Claridge believes Cambridge will win if they play to their potential, but is well aware of the chance of an upset for Gosport.

"If Cambridge turn up and play well they'll win," he said. 

"That's a simple equation, it's like anything if the better team and the better players turn up, with all due respect, then they'll win.

Steve Claridge celebrates a goal for Leicester City in the League Cup Final of 1997.

Claridge celebrates a goal in the League Cup Final of 1997

 

 

"But if they don't and they're not quite at their best, with Gosport now hitting a bit of form then they will be asked some serious questions.

 

"Gosport are quite an experienced unit with some experienced players in their side. And they shouldn't be too fazed by the occasion, it's going to be wonderful."

 

United haven't fared so well at the new Wembley.

So far it's been two defeats in two Conference Premier play-off finals. The first was against Exeter City in 2008 and the second in 2009 against Torquay which saw, current Gosport striker, Tim Sills score in a 2-0 win.

 

For Claridge though, the memories are positive. He said: "That is the place to play. It can be a nightmare and you can worry yourself out of the game. Some people love it and for some people it takes them out of their comfort zone.

 

"But it's fantastic to score at Wembley. It's not just about football, it is life changing."

By FA Staff