Tom Killick recalls Wimborne Town's FA Vase triumph 25 years on
PUBLISHED: 15:33 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:33 25 April 2017
On April 25, 1992, Wimborne Town achieved the greatest success in the football club's 139 year history, winning the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium. 25 years on, Andy Greeves looks back on the Magpies' finest hour with former striker Tom Killick
Prior to the start of the 1991-92 season, Wimborne Town’s best performance in the FA Vase – a knockout cup tournament similar to the FA Cup but exclusively for clubs outside of the Premier League/Football League – had seen them get to the third round of the competition on three occasions. Given that form – or lack of - there were few people, including the club’s players, that fancied the Magpies’ chances of making much of a mark on the competition that campaign.
“We entered the competition as a Wessex League team that season, which is the ninth tier of the football pyramid in England today,” recalls former Wimborne Town striker Tom Killick. Currently tier one is the Premier League, tier four being League Two, the bottom division of the Football League and so on. “These days the FA Vase is for clubs from the ninth to eleventh tier of the pyramid only, back then Southern League (Southern and Midland) teams (eighth tier of the football pyramid today) also played in the FA Vase. So Wimborne weren’t in the top division of clubs entered for the tournament back in 1992.
“As players, we just wanted to perform well but getting to the final, let alone winning it, seemed like a pipe dream.”
Wimborne beat Mangotsfield United and Chard Town to make it to the third round of the competition in 1991-92. They dispatched two clubs from higher divisions in the shape of Horsham and Hastings Town and then beat Diss Town in the quarter finals to set up a two-legged, home and away semi final with Bamber Bridge.
“I missed the two legs of the semi final due to an injury,” recalls Killick, who played over 100 matches for the Mapgies in two spells with the club from 1989 to 1994 and in 2000. “There were real mixed feelings for me, especially ahead of the second leg at The Cuthbury (Wimborne Town’s home ground). I was devastated to miss out.
“I remember coming along to the second leg and there were about 3,500 people there that night. Some fans had climbed up trees to get a view of the pitch…the ground was absolutely packed. The players performed with real courage and determination and deserved to win. But when the final whistle sounded I was worried there could be more disappointment for me if the injury meant I couldn’t play in the final at Wembley.”
Killick faced an agonising wait in the run-up to the final against Guiseley on April 25, 1992. Would he be part of manager Alex Pike’s team going to Wembley? On the morning of the game, the striker discovered his dreams of playing at Wembley were about to come true as he was handed a place in the Wimborne Town starting eleven.
“There was a really great atmosphere,” says Killick, thinking back to the final at the legendary ground. “The organisers had sensibly put the 10,000 or so fans in one stand at Wembley (which seated 80,000 supporters at the time). When I heard the roar of the fans as I was coming up the tunnel, the enormity of the situation dawned on me. 10,000 fans… that was ten times as many people as I had ever played in front of before!”
As Guiseley had won the FA Vase the previous season, they went into the final against Wimborne Town as red hot favourites. The West Yorkshire side took the lead after 15 minutes of the match through Ian Noteman.
“When that goal went in it looked like we were going to get annihilated,” comments Killick. “Overall, they looked bigger, sharper and better than us.”
Wimborne equalised after 27 minutes with an effort from their popular captain Steve ‘Taffy’ Richardson. “Taffy’s goal changed everything,” smiles Killick. “It was a goal slightly out of nothing and their goalkeeper should have done better in all honesty. That mistake seemed to really deflate Guiseley, and it reinvigorated us. It was the catalyst we needed to go on and win the game.”
Richardson’s strike indeed proved the turning point of the match with Jamie Sturgess giving Wimborne the lead three minutes later. Then Killick got in on the act to send the Magpies into the dressing room a glorious 3-1 up at half-time.
“It was one of those situations where I almost had too much time to think about how I was going to put the ball into the back of the net,” adds Killick, describing his goal. “The overriding feeling when the ball hit the back of the net was one of relief. If I’d missed, it would have been classed as a really bad miss being one-on-one with the keeper.
“My biggest memory of the day is scoring that goal, then seeing my mum and dad celebrating in the crowd. It was great to share a special moment like that with my parents.”
After half-time, Ian Noteman scored once again for Guiseley to turn the match into a real contest. Killick made it 4-2 to Wimborne shortly after, getting on the end of a long ball from Richardson.
“I remember going for the ball and I wasn’t sure I was actually going to get to it before their goalkeeper,” says Killick, on his second strike of the afternoon. “When I did, I was at a tight angle on my wrong foot inside the penalty area. I was quite surprised…as anyone that knew my ability with my left foot would have been…that I managed to score from that angle on my wrong foot! If the feeling for my first goal was one of relief, the feeling for the second one was one of total surprise.”
In the closing stage, Jamie Sturgess put the result of the match beyond doubt with Wimborne’s fifth goal of the afternoon, while Bob Colville’s effort for Guiseley in stoppage time at the end of the 90 minutes was nothing more than a consolation.
“Going up to collect the medal after the match was surreal,” Killick reflects. “Coming down the steps, I gave my medal to my nephew, who was about eight or nine at the time. In recent years, he has given it back to me and it’s one of few items of memorabilia from my career I still own.
“I did spare a thought then, and I still do now, for players like Dominic Barrett who weren’t involved on the day, despite playing a big part in us getting to the final. I can only imagine how heart breaking it must have been not to be playing at Wembley that day.”
On returning from London to Dorset after the final, Killick and a number of his teammates celebrated their FA Vase trophy success at the The Venue nightclub in Poole. The players also got to parade their trophy in Wimborne Square in the days thereafter.
In 2009, there was even recognition of the match in a national newspaper with the Daily Mail including the 1992 FA Vase Final in its list of the 50 greatest finals to have been played at Wembley Stadium. “For an FA Vase Final to be given a mention amongst FA Cup Finals, European Cup Finals and the World Cup Final, is a great accolade for non league football,” responds Killick to its inclusion.
Wimborne Town was the first team from Dorset to win a match at Wembley. But since their trophy success back in 1992 the club has rarely progressed beyond the opening rounds of the FA Vase. Their best performance to date was reaching the quarter finals in 2006-07 where they lost 2-1 to AFC Totton. Wimborne Town now play their league football in the Southern League Division One South & West, and are managed by former AFC Bournemouth player Matty Holmes.
These days Tom Killick works as a Litigation Executive for Poole-based Jacobs & Reeves Solicitors, who he started out with as a trainee aged 18. The 47-year-old, who during his football career also played for the likes of Poole Town, Dorchester Town, Basingstoke and Newport IOW (on loan), has been the manager of Poole Town since 2004, and has guided the club to four promotions.
Killick says he is still surprised by the number of times he is asked about the Magpies’ 5-3 victory over Guiseley some 25 years on. “I really wasn’t aware how many people knew about that game,” he laughs.
Follow the Magpies! Wimborne Town Football Club’s official website can be found at wimbornetownfc.co.uk
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