The Isuzu FA Vase

Take a look ahead to Sunday's Isuzu FA Vase Final at Wembley

Friday 19 May 2023
The Isuzu FA Vase Final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 21 May 2023

The Isuzu FA Vase Final takes place on Sunday afternoon, with Ascot United taking on Newport Pagnell Town who return to Wembley to defend the title.

It kicks-off at 12.15pm BST and can be watched live on BT Sport or tickets are still available to attend Non-League Finals Day which also includes the Isuzu FA Trophy Final.

Ahead of the game, find out a little more about each club and get the thoughts of the managers...

You can read more about both clubs and teams in the official Non-League Finals Day match programme. Order online here.

Ascot United
Nickname: The Yellamen
League: Combined Counties League Premier Division North
Ground: Ascot Racecourse
Manager: Jamie Tomkins

How does it feel to get to Wembley? Amazing. I said after the semi-final that we’d party all night long. I don’t know what the celebrations will look like if we win at Wembley but I’d love to party with that trophy.

I’ve been trying to get the message across that to thrive at Wembley you really have to embrace the occasion, enjoy it.

Playing there will be different, so our build-up has been slightly different too. We’ve tried to give them as many opportunities so they go into that Final unfazed and focused on the job at hand, whether that’s a session at a professional training ground like Brentford or at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, or a visit to Wembley to familiarise themselves with the pitch and the changing room.

Huge respect to Newport Pagnell for getting to the Final two years in a row. That’s a hell of an achievement and they deserve huge credit. They’ll be able to draw upon their experiences from last year, but I don’t think they’ll have come up against a side like ours this season.

It helped that we clinched the [Combined Counties League Premier Division North] title with four games to spare. We only lost two league games and finished on 102 points, which has worked absolute wonders for my win ratio! Our priority was always promotion but you can’t help but get distracted by the FA Vase because of the carrot that playing at Wembley brings.

Of course, we’ll give absolutely everything to win, but because it’s such a huge experience to be playing at that stadium, in a way we kind of feel like we’ve already won.

Newport Pagnell Town
Nickname: The Swans
League: United Counties League Premier Division
Ground: Willen Road
Manager: Gary Flinn

I remember last year’s FA Vase Final like it was yesterday. The game was live on BT Sport so I recorded it and have gone over it. It was a really hot day – half the stadium was in the shade but I was in the sun, which was hard work with my bald head. I was putting lotion on every ten minutes!

I played non-League but never got to Wembley, so to walk out as manager is the next best thing.

Last year, my son had just started playing football and he walked out with me. That was a really special moment for me and my family. I don’t think he realised how lucky he was, and now he gets to do it again.

Newport Pagnell Town won the 2022 FA Vase after a 3-0 win over Littlehampton Town at Wembley

At this level, playing at Wembley is normally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so to be able to do it twice I feel completely privileged and blown away. It was a bit of a whirlwind last year but this time should be a little bit calmer in terms of preparation off the pitch.

I don’t think I’ll have any problems motivating the players. Those who played have had a taste for it, so will absolutely want to do it again. They’ve been speaking to the new players, telling them what an unbelievable experience the whole day is. And they’re all fighting for places, so that will keep everyone motivated.

I’d like the opportunity to manage higher up, whether that’s with Newport or somewhere else – as long as it fits in with the day job. Part of my role is making sure Wembley is a shop window for some of the players, too. We have a few players who are at a good age – 22, 23, 24 - who could play up a couple of divisions or even higher. They should absolutely grab the opportunity on this stage. And I hope they do.

By Competitions department