Sean Moore admits it will be “truly something special” to lead Binfield out at Wembley Stadium on Saturday for the Buildbase FA Vase final against north-west side Warrington Rylands.
Having received 1,500 tickets, the village club will have plenty of support as they bid to win the competition on their 13th attempt.
And Moore could not be prouder to skipper what he describes as the most close-knitted team he has ever played for in his career.
He says the biggest day in the club’s 128-year history is being made even sweeter by the fact that, unlike their previous ties this year, supporters can now attend the game following the relaxation of Government restrictions and among the fans will be his young son Parker.
“He’s already got his own shirt with Moore on the back,” said Sean. “I don’t know who is more excited, me or Parky. He’s been running around the house saying, ‘we’re going to Wembley’. He’s over the moon.
“It is a great personal achievement for me to lead out a team at Wembley as not many players get that opportunity at our level of football and to do that in front of my three-year-old son is truly something special.”
Moore is also thrilled for the whole club, adding: “The lads have worked extremely hard on and off the pitch and I include everyone at the club as well. All those associated with Binfield definitely deserves what we have achieved so far and hopefully, we can go on to win the final.”
The 26-year-old striker agrees with joint-managers Jamie McClurg and Carl Withers that the long coach trips to ties in the previous six rounds have helped bring the squad closer together.
He continued: “To be honest, I have never played in a squad where everyone is so much together, the camaraderie, everyone works hard for each other as they don’t want to let their teammates down. It is something special we have got and I could not be happier with it.
“It has been a difficult season for us as it’s been on and off and on again, but the big thing that has motivated us to win games in the Vase is that if we lose, we would not be playing football again for three months.
“We had a massive break between beating Newhaven (in early December) and the next round (in April) and we were also pleased to be back playing again, especially in the Vase. It motivated us just to win each game as it kept us all together week after week.”
A massive bonus for the players is that supporters are being allowed to attend the match.
“What a game for the fans to come back – a final at Wembley,” said Moore.
“There have been a couple of games where fans were allowed to watch us, but there were restrictions, but now all our supporters, including family and friends, can see us play and that is great news – it’s like a gift for our fans to see us play at Wembley and cheer us on.”
Among those with a ticket is Craig Sumner, who helped shape Moore’s soccer career from a young age.
“I started with Woodley Town and played under Craig, so I am delighted he will be there on Saturday as it will also be a special day for him,” added the 25-year-old Woodley resident.
“He was influential in my game as a young boy and for him to see me play at Wembley is tremendous and for me, it is really exciting.”
Moore played for Binfield’s Allied Counties side and when Craig went over to Henley Town he joined him there. He played for them in the Allied Counties and then got into the first team.
Sean recalls the day he helped Henley beat Binfield 5-3 after extra time in the 2015-16 Reading Senior Cup final at Madejski Stadium, scoring one goal and helping to set up two more. Several of the Binfield side, managed by Roger Herridge, will be facing Warrington on Saturday.
But when Henley encountered a number of off-field problems and resigned from the Hellenic League, the striker took a bit of time out of football and went to watch a Binfield side that included his friend Liam Ferdinand.
“Roger was instantly on my case and told me to carry on playing, and he got me to sign on for Binfield,” stated Moore. After a couple of seasons, he moved to Bracknell, only to return to the Moles.
Several other players also made the move from Larges Lane to Hill Farm Lane, among them McClurg and Withers, who last year were appointed joint-managers after Herridge had decided to stand down.
However, with head coach Geoff Warner taking a break during the pandemic lockdown, Herridge agreed to return to the dug-out to assist Withers while McClurg continued to play.
Moore commented: “Roger knows a lot about us and what we can do, so it’s good to have him in our dressing room. He is the right sort of person that Jamie and Carl can lean on at times.”
Part Two of this interview will be on Football in Berkshire later this week. Further chats to come from Jemel Johnson and Liam Gavin in addition to everything else here.