BROMLEY AT WEMBLEY: It's a great day out but only if you win, says Roger Johnson

Sunday 13th May 2018

ROGER JOHNSON says it’s a huge achievement for Bromley to get to Wembley.


It will be the fourth time that the 35-year-old central defender has played at the iconic stadium as Bromley lock horns with Brackley Town in The Buildbase FA Trophy Final.

Roger Johnson (right) makes his fourth Wembley
appearance when Bromley lock horns with Brackley
Town in The Buildbase FA Trophy Final on Sunday
20 May.
Photo: Edmund Boyden

Johnson, who has played 107 times in the Premier League for the likes of Birmingham City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United, reflected on the club’s top nine finish in the Vanarama National League.

“Well disappointing in the end to be honest. Clearly I wasn’t here at the start of the season, I’m sure the goal was, I know the goal was to push and get in the play-offs, so in that respect we failed in the end.

“It was a big ask initially to get in the play-offs.  The gaffer has brought some good players in and it was actually in the end there for us but we just didn’t get the right results at the right time and it ended up being a bit of a disappointment in the end.

“After winning the games we did to give ourselves a chance going into the last two games, the Barrow game (a 0-0 draw at home) for me was the one that killed us because it would’ve been nice to take it into the last game having to go into that to win to guarantee us being there.

“Look, the league doesn’t lie at the end of the season, there was a lot of games that we’ve played and we just fell short at the end of it.”

Johnson arrived at Hayes Lane from Charlton Athletic, where he made 26 appearances in two divisions in three seasons.

When asked about his only time in non-league football, albeit in the professional National League, Sidcup resident Johnson replied: “Good. I’ve loved every minute of it to be honest with you. After being injured for a long period of time it’s just nice to come back out and play football at a club that has a vision of where they want to go.

“The gaffer is quite clear on that. The players want to push in that direction as well.  That side of it was great. I love the intensity of it and initially getting back out and playing but it’s just nice to play for something rather than just come in and train and play and go home. It’s nice to have that, what’s the word I’m looking for? Intensity really just to achieve and do well and make history for a club like Bromley.”

Bromley last played at Wembley Stadium in 1949 when a Tommy Hopper goal sealed THAT 1-0 win  over Romford as Bromley won The FA Amateur Cup for the third time, the first one played at the iconic Stadium.

Bromley used to play Wembley FC at Vale Farm in their Isthmian League Division One days but to actually play at Wembley Stadium is just a dream.

“Incredible yes. It’s a huge achievement what Bromley have achieved, what Bromley have achieved to get there,” said Johnson.

“It’s a great day out but only if you win and that’s got to be the end goal. We have to win on the day otherwise it’s all for nothing really.  No one remembers runners-up!

“To go back there again for the fourth time, I’m absolutely over the moon! I’ve had ups and down, I’ve had two wins there and a loss. People don’t remember the losers there, they remember winners so that’s what we need to do.”

When asked how it feels to walk out and play on the hallowed turf, Johnson said: “What’s the word?  It’s a bit overwhelming in a way. It’s just memories.  It’s hard to put into a few sentences but it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

“Walking out in all of them, winning with Birmingham when we beat Arsenal (in the 2011 League Cup Final) will live with me forever and that’s what careers, I’ve said to the boys in games, your careers short. I’m 35 now and it feels like I was in the Premier League four years ago.  It’s just madness how quickly it goes so don’t let opportunities like this pass you by.  You need to grab them and we’ll go down in history with the team that plays, the squad, the managers and the staff.

“You’ve got to win these games to go down in history and I’m buzzing and over the moon to be back there and take Bromley there.”

Brackley Town, third-placed finishers in the Vanarama National League North, stand in the way to make it Bromley’s Greatest Ever Day in their 125-year history.

Johnson said:  “Of course, it’s on the day. They could beat us if we’re not at it. We’re on it 100% and every player is all at it and all of the subs who come on are at it, I’d like to think we’ll go and win the game – but if we don’t turn up, look at the run we had against Spennymoor’s and Workington’s in the build-up to the Final. We got taken to replays when really on paper we should be beating sides like that! Football is like that. It’s on the day.  I’m sure if we turn up we’ll be more than ok.

“It’s a good achievement for the gaffer Neil Smith as well.  It’s brilliant for everybody involved and we can’t wait to do that.  Fingers crossed I’m in the team and get to walk out there for a fourth time, it’s going to be a proud moment for everybody, our families are all coming, the fans, the club. It will be a proud day. Let’s hope we can get the win to top it off!”

When asked about his future, Johnson wants to stay at Hayes Lane next season.

“I’ve made it clear I do enjoy it here.  The gaffer, how do I word this? He’s said that he’d like me to stay so we’ll see what happens over the coming weeks.

“Bromley, I believe, are going places and everybody from the board to the staff all want that and in my mind I want to be a part of that so yes hopefully we’ll get something sorted in the coming weeks and see what happens over the summer.”

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Photographs courtesy of Edmund Boyden –

Stockton Town  v  Thatcham Town
The Buildbase FA Vase Final
Sunday 20 May 2018
Kick Off 12:15pm
at Wembley Stadium, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 0WS

Brackley Town  v  Bromley
The Buildbase FA Trophy Final
Sunday 20 May 2018
Kick Off 4:15pm
at Wembley Stadium, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 0WS