We're one of ten teams that actually know they've got a good chance of getting to Wembley, says Tunbridge Wells boss Jason Bourne

Thursday 19th November 2015

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Jason Bourne says returning to Wembley Stadium for another FA Vase Final is achievable.

Bourne was captain when Martin Larkin led the club to the 2013 Final, when they went down to a brave 2-1 defeat to big-spending Spennymoor Town.

The Wells travel to near Woking to play Knaphill, who knocked out Southern Counties East Football League rivals Cray Valley in the last round, winning 5-4 after extra time.

Knaphill are in thirteenth-place in the Combined Counties Football League table, having collected six wins, two draws and six defeats in their league campaign so far.

The Surrey side have not progressed further than this stage before and Bourne is looking forward to taking charge of his first FA Vase tie after taking over from Keith Bird on 26 October.

“That’s right, the FA Vase games are always special,” said Bourne.

“The players’ always like an away day, it gives them a chance to act like professional footballers, go away as a group and just go and express ourselves.

“We’ll have a good following on the day, training’s gone up another level as it always does around FA Vase games so everyone’s very buoyant and looking forward to it.”

Bourne who was proud to be captain of his home-town club when they played at Wembley Stadium and believes he can return there as manager this season.

He said: “It really doesn’t get any better than that and that’s the main reason that you get a lot of players play at this level – is to go and do that thing in The Vase.

“I always say to the players, before we got to Wembley there’s roughly 600 teams in this competition and I honestly believe only 10 of them actually know they have a very good chance of getting to Wembley, the rest are making the numbers up.

“I really want to get that across to the boys it can be done because previous to doing that we were very much a team that made the numbers up!

“I spoke to Paul Gross at Cray Valley and he told me a bit about them. They’re going to be a good side, they’ve got through a couple of rounds already so as long as we’re equipped properly ourselves we feel we’ve got enough information to go and do the job.

“We’re really going to concentrate on how we play rather than how the other team’s going to play.

“I know it’s so achievable," Bourne replied when asked whether the club can return to Wembley Stadium.

"It’s something that we’ve still got a group of four or five that knows it’s achievable.

“At the beginning of that season we weren’t a good side and we want on a run and we all development and the excitement of The Vase got us on a run and the season spiralled from there and I want to make sure, if possible, we can do it this year.”

Bourne always had potential to become the manager of his home-town club and he’s relishing his big chance.

He said: “It’s brilliant. It’s taken a little while to sink in to be honest.  As anyone who manages a football team soon finds out there’s a lot of work to do. I really enjoy it.

“I’ve got a number two in Mark Stapley, who’s superb and been there and done it and together we seem to make a good team.

“The team spirit’s very good. We’ve recruited well. We lost a few players but we’ve recruited a few in and they’ve fitted straight in.

“Training’s been good and team spirit’s been good so I feel results are only around the corner.”

Tunbridge Wells are underachieving in eleventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table, 18 points adrift of league leaders Hollands & Blair.

“A club like us over the last few years has been used to being at the top of the league, not down where we are at the moment.  Disappointed but we’re looking forward now,” said Bourne.

“We just need to build momentum. With one win brings two and hopefully we can just carry on and get somewhere where we feel the club should be.”

Visit Tunbridge Wells’ website:  www.tunbridgewellsfc.com

Knaphill  v  Tunbridge Wells
The FA Vase Second Round
Saturday 21st November 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Brookwood Country Park Football Ground, Redding Way, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey GU21 2AY