Thursday 01st September 2005

The Real Deal - Wembley Manuscript
by Tommy Sampson

Chapter 7

Three weeks later we traveled to Met Police who we had already beaten 2-0 in the F.A. Cup back in September and won reasonably comfortably 5-2. 

The day though was soured by an unfortunate situation involving Wayne Schweiso, which gained momentum during the game and continued afterwards in the bar.  

Before I say anything else I have to state that “squeeze” was a great player and had played a massive part in the last few seasons.  He was always one of the first names I put on any team sheet but he had been sent off in November at Beckenham Town and as a consequence had received a 30-day suspension.  That meant him missing eight games over the Christmas period including our 4th round tie at Crook Town.

The week before our 5th round tie at Met Police we played a League Cup tie away to Whitstable Town.  I felt with such an important game only seven days away I would not risk everybody, so left out about six players who I knew would start the following week. This gave me the chance to give Wayne his first game for six weeks.  

Wayne always needed to train and play to maintain fitness and despite having put on a couple of extra pounds he played very well in a valuable 2-0 win.  

I rang Wayne the following day and said how pleased I was to see him back and that I would certainly consider him over the next few days for a place in the side to play Met Police.   The only selection problem I had was indeed Lakin or Schweiso in midfield.

Barry had replaced Wayne during his suspension and had not put a foot wrong.  Normally Wayne would have always got the nod but I started to feel that one game for “squeeze” in seven weeks was too much of a gamble and on seeing Met Police’s pitch that morning absolutely saturated I decided to give the shirt to Barry. 

I told Wayne this around 1.45pm and said that he wouldn’t be required as a sub as those places had been earmarked for certain roles should the need arise.   I remember saying quite clearly that he shouldn’t worry I would soon get him back in. 

I also recall seeing Wayne in the dressing room and had no inkling of the depth of his disappointment.   The game won I waltzed into the bar feeling absolutely delighted with myself ( had never progressed past the fifth round before) and sought out the company of my two closest friends, Graham Hall and Martin Farnie.

On getting a drink at a packed bar they both told me to steer clear of Wayne because his behavior during the game had been a bit controversial.  He wasn’t pleased with me and it was probably best to stay out of his way.  

I wasn’t too concerned about it because players who are disappointed at being left out often say things they later regret to it was better not to be around to  hear it. 

However, as time went on players were telling me that Wayne was getting more and more involved, arguing with supporters, committee people and sadly even his own players.  

Dave Dadd eventually came up to me to tell me they were trying to get Wayne out of the clubhouse on to the coach because the abusive nature of his comments and the personal remarks made to the chairman were completely over the top.

I tried to intervene but more than enough people told me that I was the last person Wayne should be confronted with as it would only fuel an already out of control fire.  

That afternoon Wayne committed footballing suicide.  His passionate belief that he should have played got the better of him.   I consulted on the Sunday with the experienced lads, like Terry Martin, Steve Best and Roly Graham to decide how best to handle the situation. 

That decision was taken out of my hands when a phone call from Roy Smith made it clear to me that Wayne’s position in the club had become untenable.   The following day I rang Wayne and said I was having to decide what to do, when all I was really doing was buying a little time to see if I could keep him in the club.

I made one last appeal to Roy over Wayne’s future but he remained adamant that Saturday’s events had touched too many nerves and reluctantly I had to accept Roy’s directive and phoned Wayne to tell him I couldn’t keep him at the club. 

Wayne did apologise to me for the situation as I did to him for not realising until too late the gravity of the day’s events.   That Wayne missed an appearance at Wembley will always be a major disappointment to me. 

I did phone to invite him to come to the game but not surprisingly he turned me down.