He was a whisker away from reaching the final as a player and now Tommy Williams wants to capture the cup fever again by guiding two-time winners Kingstonian on an FA Trophy run.
Williams was an attacking midfielder by trade and appeared for nine clubs at non-league level – but it was at Boreham Wood where he experienced the most success.
He helped the Hertfordshire side to a promotion and the FA trophy semi-finals in 2006, but a trip to Upton Park for the finale eluded him after a two-legged loss to Woking.
Dorchester Town v Kingstonian
The FA Trophy
Second qualifying round
3pm, Saturday 14 November
The Avenue Stadium
The path to the final – now at Wembley – has only gotten harder over the past decade, with National League teams also in the mix for the trophy.
But Kingstonian as a club also have a proud pedigree in the competition – back-to-back winners in 1999 and 2000 – and Williams wants to channel that spirit at Dorchester Town in the second qualifying round this weekend.
“I played in the semi-final with Boreham Wood and those memories stay with you forever. With there now being National League clubs involved, which wasn’t the case back then, it would be great to get one of those bigger sides in the next round,” he said.
“But we’ve got to focus on the tough game on Saturday first of all.
“We played over two legs and lost to Woking, but we were very close to getting to Wembley. The buzz it created throughout the club was superb and it’s something I would like to mirror as a manager here.
“Kingstonian has got a great history in what is a very good competition. We want as many supporters as possible to make the journey down – it would be great if we could bring that cup spirit with us.
“We are at a similar position with Dorchester in the league table and from the reports we’ve had on them we know they are a good side and they’ve recently been relegated, so have been playing at a higher level than us too. We need to be at our very best.”
'I played in the semi-final with Boreham Wood and those memories stay with you forever'
Tommy Williams, Kingstonian boss
Williams is into his second season as manager at the Isthmian League Premier Division club after taking over from Alan Dowson last year, who had been in charge since 2007.
As such it has taken a while for Williams to mould the club in his own vision but they are becoming an extremely tough side to beat – having lost just twice in all competitions since the start of September.
“To get the dressing room where we wanted as a unit took some time and we’re in a good place at the moment, we’ve been going well this year,” added Williams, who also enjoyed a stay at Kingstonian as a player.
“Before the game against Met Police we went on a long unbeaten streak, so we’re looking forward to what this weekend brings.
“What we’ve done is put our own stamp on things at the club, though we did keep some personnel over from the season when they finished second.
“We’ve made a few more changes this time around and results have got better for us, but it’s a long old season.”