FA Cup still special for skipper

Worksop Town vs Brigg Town. Steve Woolley on the ball
Worksop Town vs Brigg Town. Steve Woolley on the ball

Thirteen years since his best FA Cup experience, Worksop Town’s Steve Woolley is out to create new memories in the ‘special’ competition.

Woolley will captain the Tigers on Saturday in their season-opening FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie against Hinckley AFC.

He has to cast his mind back to 2004 for his fondest, ableit hazy, FA Cup memory.

Ironically he was at Alfreton when they vanquished Worksop en route to the First Round Proper clash with League Two Macclesfield Town.

“My memory is shocking,” he admitted.

“But going back a few years, when I was at Alfreton at 19 or 20 there was a couple of times we had a really good cup run.

“One year we lost to Blyth away, then there was the Macclesfield game in I think the First Round Proper.

“That was probably my best experience, the furthest I’ve been.

“Unfortunately there are no recent memories.”

At the age of 32 Woolley is not taking his football for granted, never mind opportunities to play in arguably the world’s most famous club knockout competition.

“I know people say they’re not really bothered about it any more but just look at the crowds people take, even at our level,” he said.

“It’s just always that bit special, an FA Cup game.

“I know it shouldn’t affect how up for a game you should be, but everyone always seems more up for it, there’s more of a buzz in the changing room.

“It means a lot to players, the club financially – the further you go the more you earn and it helps pay for everything.”

Once the FA Cup game is completed, attention will turn to the NCEL Premier season, with the first game away at Liversedge on Tuesday night.

Woolley is quietly confident that the squad boss Ryan Hindley has put together has a chance of doing something.

And that’s why the versatile veteran is still pulling on the club’s shirt.

“There’s a lot of opinions in football, people not in your circle, but I think we’ll surprise a lot of people,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of young players, some very good young players who should really play at a higher level and probably will go on to do so.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with Ryan and I said two or three weeks back I don’t just want it to be a season for the sake of a season.

“I’m 32 now, I won’t be playing for much longer, I want to really do something in the game before I have to stop playing.

“I hated it last season even before I got injured, in midtable, it just didn’t feel right.

“I’m hoping we can push for promotion, but we are a very young side.

“Fingers crossed we’ll do very well.”