Watford take on Manchester City in the FA Cup Final on Saturday and it will be a day that stirs plenty of memories for Oxford United Head of Academy Coach Les Taylor.
Les lived every schoolboy’s dream when he led Watford out in their last FA Cup Final against Everton back in 1984. He told us:
“It was an unbelievable day and to lead the team out was something you never forget. There has been a fair amount of media this week with people asking me what I remember and I have enjoyed bringing back a few memories, but there wasn’t as much media attention back in those days: I’ve probably done more interviews this week!
“On the day the build up goes past in a blur but nothing prepares you for walking out in front of a full Wembley, knowing there are millions of people watching on TV. We had the better of the first 20 minutes and should have scored; John Barnes had a chance and I could have scored myself from the rebound but John Bailey just got a touch on it and it went wide. It just wasn’t our day.
“This weekend will be a tough game for Watford, obviously, but it’s the FA Cup so you have to believe you have a chance.”
There’s a constant reminder of that day for Les with an image of him at Wembley as part of the mural that decorates the Academy area at the training ground at the U’s.
“That wasn’t my idea!” he laughs. “But it’s important as part of a message we tell all of our young players here. Work hard, train hard and give it your best shot and perhaps you can go from playing as a youngster in the first team at Oxford United like I did, to captaining a side in the FA Cup Final.”