The Buildbase FA Vase

Hear from Littlehampton and Newport Pagnell ahead of Sunday's Buildbase FA Vase Final

Thursday 19 May 2022

Newport Pagnell Town v Littlehampton Town
The Buildbase FA Vase Final
12.15pm, Sunday 22 May 2022
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on BT Sport in the UK


This season’s Vase Final sees Newport Pagnell Town of the United Counties League Premier Division face Littlehampton Town, who won promotion from the Southern Combination Football League Premier Division this season to the Isthmian League.

It’s a first FA Vase Final for both clubs and ahead of the game, so let’s hear from some of the key figures from each club.

The Managers

Gary Flinn – Newport Pagnell


It probably wasn’t something we were expecting at the beginning of the season. We thought we could have a decent run but getting to the Final has been brilliant for the football club and the town.
 
We said after each game that we had one more game to go and we thought we could do better. It’s been a brilliant achievement.
 
It would be one of the biggest achievements if Newport could win the Vase. All we know about Littlehampton Town is that they’re favourites. They’ve scored the most goals at step five in the whole country, so they are used to winning, they’ve won the league, they’re in cup finals. We know it’s going to be the toughest one that we’ve had so far, so they’re slight favourites. If they’re not the best side at step five this season, they’re definitely up there.
 
Even though I’m getting a bit old now, it’s every person or football player’s dream to walk out at Wembley.
 
It’s got to be an enjoyable day, but the players will be nervous and it’s trying to get them channelling their nerves in the right way. This is something to look forward to and show off with. They deserve to be here because they won the games to get here. They’ve got to show their skills, show themselves off.
 
Mitchell Hand – Littlehampton Town

It’s surreal to think we’re in the Buildbase FA Vase Final. I’ve watched highlights from Finals of years gone by and to think it’s going to be us is crazy. I don’t think any manager at our level in the country sets out to win the Vase, you talk about having a good run, but to win it is a one-in-a-million shot. 

This competition is absolutely huge. The support we’ve gained through our Vase run is massive for the club going forward. Our attendances have absolutely skyrocketed, so it’s huge for the club financially, puts the club on the map, and it’s such a romantic competition. Reaching the Final probably won’t happen again in our lifetime so we’re just enjoying it.


 
Winning is something you don’t even think about but having watched some of the previous Finals, you see being at Wembley will be a completely different winning experience to a losing one, so now we’re going full pelt to win. To do that would be an amazing moment in the history of the club.
 
Newport Pagnell Town will be a top-quality side. When you look at the amount of sides that enter the Vase, for them to be in the Final shows their quality. We know how hard it was to get here, they beat some really good sides. We’ll give them the respect they deserve, but a lot of our planning comes down to what we can do on the day, that’s what’s going to matter.
 
We’re going to try and enjoy every single moment of being at Wembley because it probably won’t happen again for us. We can’t wait to walk out and see 7000 Littlehampton fans in Wembley.
 
The Players
 
Jake Watkinson – Newport Pagnell Town

 
It’s a massive achievement for the club. The team itself is as one and I think that’s why we’ve got here. We win and lose together. It’s such a great vibe and everyone gets on with each other. We all want the best out of everyone.
 
Now it’s getting closer, you feel a bit of pressure. No one wants to get injured but it’s all exciting. You see it all on Twitter and the more people you speak to you find out the amount of people I know that are going to watch the game. That day at Wembley will be so special for the club, for the team, for everyone involved.
 
I know it’s at Wembley but it’s to play football. We know we’ve got what it takes. We’ve got to the Final so we just have to back ourselves.

We haven’t had a great season in the league, the Vase means we’ve got this one game to say, ‘look what we’ve achieved’. 
 
It’s every boy’s dream to play at Wembley, so to say you’ve won a trophy there, moments like that will live with me forever. It will be a dream come true.
 
This is the place everyone thinks about, you see how big it is on telly and all the important games played there, the EUROs were there. I’ll be playing on the pitch that all these world class players are playing on – it’s a joke!
 
Joe Benn – Littlehampton Town

It’s been a crazy journey. It’s unbelievable, and how it’s grown throughout the season in terms of support. We wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for the fans.
 
For the club, for the town, it would be absolutely unbelievable if we were to win it. I was a school teacher at the Littlehampton Academy for two years, and I know how much it means to the community and how much that’s grown this season.
 
It would be life changing for everyone involved. We’ve made history already for ourselves, there’s no reason why we can’t push that little bit more.
 
Winning the league already was massive for us. If you said at the start of the season that’s all you would have, I’d have ripped your hand off. Now we’re playing at the home of football, where experienced professionals at top levels don’t even end up playing. You’ve got the likes of a school teacher or a painter and decorator playing there, it’s the craziest thing and has to be at the top.
 
You’re playing at the home of football, that’s going to play a part and I do think a big factor of the end result will be about which team deals with the occasion best. We’re not going to approach the game differently and we’re going to do everything we can to manage it.

SEE THIS SEASON'S FA VASE RESULTS

By FA Staff