The Isuzu FA Vase

A father and son affair at Wembley for Highworth boss

Friday 20 Mar 2015
John Fisher is hoping to lead his side out at Wembley for the 9 May final

Highworth Town manager John Fisher is determined to lead his team all the way to Wembley in the FA Vase – so he can keep a promise he made his 87-year-old father.

Fisher's side upset the odds by beating much-fancied Tadcaster in the quarter-final and are now just two games away from turning out at the national stadium as they face North Shields over two legs.

Fisher, who revealed he has never visited Wembley, new or old, says breaking his duck there as a manager would be a dream come true.

Highworth v North Shields

FA Vase
Semi-Final First Leg
3pm, Saturday 21 March
The Elms Recreation Ground, Highworth

But there is one very important duty that he he will not be under-taking – because he's promised his father the privilege of walking out of the tunnel with the team, should they reach the showpiece.

Fisher told "My dad is 87 and he's never been to Wembley either. 

"Three rounds ago I said to him 'if we get there you can lead the team out' - at first he didn't believe me - now I think he's polishing his shoes. 

"I've worked with him since I was 18, we had a building business, then painting and decorating.  

"He's retired now obviously but every Friday we meet up for a couple of beers like we used to and I made him that promise."

Fisher has always played down his side's chances of making it all the way to the final.

But after their 1-0 away win in their quarter-final replay he is now daring to dream.

Goalkeeper Gary Stevens saved a penalty before Callum Parson hit their 73rd-minute winner – but Fisher describes those 17 remaining minutes as 'pure torture'.

"I didn't recover, emotionally and physically until the following Wednesday," he added.

Wembley Pitch

John Fisher says it would be a dream come true to lead his team out at Wembley - alongside his father

"I've been doing this for 26 years but I've never ever experienced the stress levels of that and I know it will be no different against North Shields. 

"I've been in finals, semis, but the actual goal of getting to Wembley is a completely different kettle of fish. 

"That's what takes over, it's not the game, it's the prize that you're getting that does you in. 

“I've been in finals, semis, but the actual goal of getting to Wembley is a completely different kettle of fish”

John Fisher Highworth manager

"I said to my assistant manager 'I don't know how I can cope with this - how do they cope with the Champions League?' 

"The last 15 minutes was pure torture, pure hell for me and then when he put five minutes of injury time up I thought 'oh no' but we got there."

North Shields are favourites to beat Highworth – and also hotly tipped to lift the trophy. They were also handed the advantage of playing the second-leg of this semi-final at home.

But Fisher said: "I know playing at home second is usually an advantage but I'm happy and all the lads are as well. 

"We've won all our away games in this competition and it suits us down to the ground.

"As long as we're still in the tie come 4.45pm on Saturday then we're happy – and it's off to the north-east we go."

By FA Staff