Season 2012/13 News Archive
28/05/2012 - 2012 SUMMER WORKS PARTY
It seems like the last successful campaign finished only yesterday, but with the ageing stadium succumbing to wear and tear at an alarming rate of knots, yet still needing to be up the minimum standard required for ground grading, it really is vital that we make an early start with as many volunteers as possible to be ready for the big kick off. Anyone is welcome to come along on the 9th June and all are very much welcome, no matter what your level of skill or your area of expertise. We need to come together as a group to have these tasks completed in order for us to have a stadium to be proud of in time for the 2012/2013 season and so look forward to seeing as many of you there on the day as possible.
04/06/2012 - NUMBER 1 FAN!
Tunbridge Wells Football Club fan, Mark Hughes, was recently named as the town's biggest sports fan by the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery. Mark is a regular at The Culverden Stadium and loves to bring to his two children Timothy (11) and Elizabeth (7). The 'Spectator Exhibition' will run from Saturday 2nd June to Saturday 1st September at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery.
11/06/2012 - FAIR PLAY WINNERS 2011/12
Tunbridge Wells FC has won last season's 'Fair Play Award' for the Kent Premier League. We can be immensely proud of this achievement as our ethos is to win in style but also win in a sporting manner. Martin can take great credit in this award as he has produced a team which not only finished higher in the league than we have for 26 years and had a great FA Vase run but has done it with players who understand the need for fair play. Congratulations to Martin and the team for this very welcome award.
13/07/2012 - SUMMER UPDATE
It’s been a busy summer, according to Martin Larkin. “The summer months are always more stressful than during the season – especially at a club like Tunbridge Wells, where we aren’t in the position to have players on contract so all the guys are theoretically free agents and can talk to whoever. After three years of progression I think the penny has finally dropped in the league and the majority of our players got phone calls from other clubs. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but the ones we wanted have all remained loyal."
Among the list of signings are some familiar faces, and some that are not so familiar. Joe Fuller has returned to the club along with Jason Barton and James Russell – all three of whom will need little introduction. “We have had a turnover, and five regulars have moved on from last year and we wish them all the best. More importantly we have retained our starting players and added experience and quality,” Larkin outlines. “Joe Fuller will add serious quality into our side and has the potential to be one of the top two or three players in our league. Jason Barton has finally re-signed after a two-year chase! ‘Barts’ is a leader and is very experienced - with the medals and the ability to prove it. He will give us that big game experience we have lacked.” (Immediately you can spot Larkin is thinking about that FA Vase game last year again). “James Russell has re-joined, and he will add the little bit of extra pace that can turn a good defence into a watertight one. All three of those guys have been away playing Ryman League football, so we are delighted to have them back with us.
Another returnee is Matt Foreman who is back from University and was last playing with Jon Lord at Sevenoaks (Lord also returns to bolster the options). One less familiar name is Chris Oladogba who has joined to push Dean Nash for the Number 1 shirt, and a couple of trialists are still being watched. “Chris came through the ranks at Charlton and has been at Bromley but he took some time off recently due to work commitments,” Larkin explained. “He has moved to Tunbridge Wells and wants to get back into football again. On first impressions we have stumbled upon someone a bit special - and he will certainly be putting pressure on Dean once he is fit.”
All-in-all, the signings made add more experience - particularly the big game experience that was probably lacking last year. "But the biggest plus that I expect the additions to bring is a little freshening-up of the squad," Larkin concludes. "The squad has been very tight over the last 18 months so it was important that we freshened things up now to keep things moving forward."
10/08/2012 - KENT SENIOR TROPHY DRAW
As expected, this year's Kent Senior Trophy draw has been bolstered with the addition of the Kent Invicta League sides, and an additional round. The draw has been made and Tunbridge Wells will host Kent Football United (formerly Erith & Dartford Town) at Culverden on October 6th. The winner will then travel to either Holmedsale or Ashford United in Round 2 on December 8th.
09/10/2012 - TWO IN...
Two new faces featured in the line-up during Saturday's Kent Senior Trophy win over Kent Football United. Mike Shelley scored on his debut (hopefully the first of many going forward in Tunbridge Wells colours). Shelley recently moved to the area and has played and scored goals in the Ryman League (North) and Essex Senior League and Essex Olympian League with the likes of White Ensign, Bowers & Pitsea, Tilbury and Redbridge. "He has scored a lot of goals in the Ryman North and Essex Senior League, and we are just trying to get him match fit," first team boss Martin Larkin outlined.
Brett Ince, meantime, joins on a dual-registration from Maidstone United. "Brett is an attacking midfielder who Maidstone are keen to get exposure to first team football. We need cover whilst Jon Pilbeam is banned - but he is a technically gifted footballer, so hopefully this arrangement works out for all parties."
15/10/2012 - FA VASE 2ND ROUND DRAW
The early rounds for the FA Vase were completed on Saturday, and the draw for the Second Round Proper has been made. Having been exempt up to this point after reaching the Fourth Round (last 32) last season, Tunbridge Wells were picked out of the hat for a home game with Oxfordshire outfit Wantage Town of the Hellenic League Premier Division during the FA's Monday lunchtime draw. The tie will take place on Saturday, November 17th. Wantage currently sit fifth in the table, winning eight and losing three of their opening 11 league games of the season. So far Wantage have enjoyed two big wins over Combined Counties Premier Division opposition in their two Vase games to date, thrashing Cove 6-1 (AET) in the Second Qualifying Round, before on Saturday bettering the result with an 8-1 win at Sandhurst Town in the First Round Proper to set up the meeting at Culverden in the next round.
This is not the first meeting between the two sides in the FA Vase, and in Season 1998/99 The Wells hosted and beat Wantage 3-0 in a Second Qualifying Round game. "The draw is going to be a tough one," first team manager Martin Larkin predicted. "Wantage won their league a couple of seasons ago and are flying high at the moment, so we will have to be at our best. We are at home so all we can ask for is that everyone is fit and available. If we have that, then we will be a match for anyone."
19/11/2012 - FA VASE - 3RD ROUND DRAW
The draw for the last 64 of the FA Vase was made at FA HQ this morning and Tunbridge Wells will play away to Binfield of the Hellenic League Premier Division. Binfield are currently fourth in their league. Having progressed to this stage courtesy of a 2-0 win over Wantage Town, also from the Hellenic League on Saturday (goals from Andy Irvine marking his return to the club from Erith & Belvedere and Carl Cornell), this stage of the competition sees the geographic boundaries of the draw expand significantly, with the next round (should The Wells make it that far) going national.
Binfield, like Tunbridge Wells, were exempt until the second round of this competition after getting to the Fourth Round last year. They won through at Deal Town 5-2 on Saturday. The tie will be played on Saturday, December 8th.
09/12/2012 - BINFIELD GOALS ON YOUTUBE
For those who were unable to travel, Binfield TV has posted the goals from the game. Click here to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ0dbef0HWo
10/12/2012 - WELLS DRAW VASE HOLDERS
Tunbridge Wells have been drawn at home to Dunston UTS in the last 32 of the FA Vase. The tie will be played at Culverden on 19th January. Dunston, the current FA Vase holders, hail from the Gateshead area and ply their trade in the Northern League Division One, where they currently sit 9th in the table, having won nine and drawn three of their opening 19 league matches. So far they have beaten West Auckland Town 5-0 in the Second Round (who they also beat 2-0 in last year's final), and Norton United 2-0 in Round Three as they seek to retain the Vase this year. Now they must make a 315 mile journey down to Culverden for their Fourth Round match.
"That's a fantastic draw!" an enthused Martin Larkin told us. "To entertain the holders will be a massive day for the club! We have plenty of time to prepare. It's games like this that reputations are built on, so we can't wait!" The Kent League's other surviving team, Lordswood, travel to either Spennymoor or Billingham Synthonia for their Fourth Round match.
08/01/2013 - MANAGER OF THE MONTH (DECEMBER)
Congratulations to Martin Larkin who was picked as Manager of the Month by the Kent League for December. Besides leading the club to the last 32 of the FA Vase for a second consecutive season, he oversaw the club's biggest away win since the club reformed in the late 1960s when the side beat Cray Valley PM 9-1. In spite of a spate of postponements, he capped a fine month by overseeing progress to the Quarter Finals of the Kent Senior Trophy with the 3-2 win at Ashford United.
11/01/2013 - MYSTERY DONATION FOR PITCH IMPROVEMENTS
Tunbridge Wells FC are very grateful to one unidentified individual having received an anonymous donation of £30,000 for renovation of the playing surface at Culverden. The pitch at Culverden has been notorious within the Kent League for many years, and various attempts have been made in the past to improve it, but with limited success. Having received this substantial sum of money, the club has been in discussion with the FA on how to best use the donation with regards to pitch improvements, and the FA has offered the advice and help of a professional groundsman from an English Premier League club.
21/01/2013 - FA VASE FIFTH ROUND DRAW
All 16 FA Vase Fourth Round matches were postponed last weekend, meaning that all 32 sides went into the hat for the FA's Fifth Round draw. With a handful of games going ahead this past weekend, however, it is now known that the winner of next Saturday’s match between Tunbridge Wells and Dunston UTS will be away to Larkhall Athletic (Western League) who beat our (relatively) near neighbours Peacehaven & Telscombe of the Sussex League 2-1 at home on Saturday. The other Kent League survivor, Lordswood will host Bemerton Heath Harlequins, who saw off Blackfield & Langley, if they manage to win at Spennymoor next weekend.
09/02/2013 - HOLDERS OUT AS WELLS MAKE HISTORY
Congratulations to Martin Larkin, Brad Sandeman and the team who became the first Tunbridge Wells side to reach the last 16 of the FA Vase in the history of the club! An Andy Irvine goal after 66 minutes secured a 1-0 win that dumped last season's Vase winners out of the competition. The result means that The Wells will travel to the outskirts of Bath next weekend (February 16) to take on Larkhall of the Western League Premier Division AND feature in this Monday’s draw for the Quarter Finals at FA Headquarters, since the majority of the Fifth Round games were being played today. Again, congratulations to the lads! This result sets a new standard for future generations at this football club to try to surpass!
11/02/2013 - FA VASE QUARTER FINAL DRAW
The draw for the FA Vase Quarter Final has taken place at FA Headquarters. The winner of next weekend's game between Larkhall or Tunbridge Wells have been drawn at home to Hadleigh United of the Eastern Counties League. Suffolk-based Hadleigh currently sit seventh in their league, winning 11, and losing 5 of their opening 20 league matches. They started life in this season's FA Vase at the Second Qualifying stage, reaching the Quarter Finals courtesy of wins against Stanway; Walsham Le Willows; Colney Heath; Oxhey Jets; AFC Emley; and Ampthill Town.
The full draw is as follows:
Runcorn/Walsall Wood v Guernsey
Shildon v Newport IoW/Ascot United
Spennymoor v Gornal
Larkhall/Tunbridge Wells v Hadleigh United
23/02/2013 - INTO THE QUARTER FINALS!!!!
If you thought having the Vase holders coming to Culverden two weeks back was a big occasion, next Saturday will eclipse it! Hadleigh United of the Eastern Counties League will come to town. WITH A PLACE IN THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE FA VASE AT STAKE, bring your friends, family and neighbours to Culverden to roar on The Wells.
Having broken the club record two weeks ago by getting to the Fifth Round of the FA Vase, Tunbridge Wells raised the bar again today, beating Western League outfit Larkhall Athletic 4-3 – After Extra Time - to reach the Quarter Finals. Once again, Congratulations to Martin Larkin, Brad Sandeman and the team!!!
Falling behind to an early penalty, Josh Stanford levelled on the half-hour mark before Andy McMath picked a prime moment to score his 50th goal for the club, putting the Wells 2-1 up two minutes before the break. Larkhall hit back from the penalty spot shortly after the break before taking the lead with 18 minutes left. Andy Irvine squared the scores at 3-3 after 80 minutes to set up extra time. Although reduced to 10 men with about 5 minutes remaining when McMath was sent off, and with thoughts turning to a replay next weekend in Kent, Jack Harris had other ideas for The Wells and hit a 120th minute winner to put The Wells into the LAST 8!
The Revised Draw for the FA Vase Quarter Final is:
Walsall Wood v Guernsey
Shildon v Ascot United
Spennymoor v Gornal
Tunbridge Wells v Hadleigh United
27/02/2013 - MARTIN LARKIN VASE INTERVIEW
In the lead up to Saturday’s big FA Vase Quarter Final match against Hadleigh United, we found a window in first team manager Martin Larkin’s busy schedule to pose some questions.
TWFC Web: What does it mean to Martin Larkin and the players to have got to the Quarter Finals of the Vase, and what’s the vibe around training been like this week?
ML: It’s a fantastic achievement to get to the final eight. No one has ever done that wearing a Tunbridge Wells shirt before, so the players are very proud of what they have achieved in the last few weeks. The flip side to that is you don’t get a medal for reaching the Quarter Finals, and we are desperate to win things as a group.
Training last night was fantastic! Everyone really upped their game as we are carrying a squad of 20 and obviously we only have 16 slots for the weekend - so everyone wants to be involved. The tempo in training was good and the atmosphere from after the game Saturday has certainly been carried back from Bath to Tunbridge Wells within the group.
TWFC Web: I’m guessing if you squint hard enough, you can see Wembley on the horizon by now… You must all be dreaming of what could be, in any case…
ML: To be honest Wembley is the carrot you dangle right from the very first game, but once match day comes around we are very focused on what needs to be done. You can’t just rely on the guys working hard because of the chance to play at Wembley is there. They need clear focus on the instructions given them to win those games ,and that’s what we will concentrate on in training this week.
TWFC Web: How do you expect your players to respond to the occasion on Saturday?
ML: With the right level of work-rate and desire that they bring every week. I then expect them to use the energy from the crowd to take those levels to a whole new level to ensure we can compete with what will be a very good Hadleigh side. We have always played well when the crowd really get into the game and I expect the same come Saturday.
TWFC Web: If the general chit-chat this week is correct, the club can expect local MPs, Mayors and several hundred additional people through the gate than usual. This Cup run is causing a stir in the town. What do you hope will be the lasting legacy for the club?
ML: An increase in crowd size for the league games is what we hope for. We are already the biggest club in the league and we want to regularly be playing in front of 250 each week, I have stressed to the club that we will never have a better chance to sell the club to the town than we do right now.
The players have been superb and we spoke about winning things as a group and leaving a legacy of being the best side the club has ever had. To do that we need to deliver for the next 2 months and pick up medals; if we can then the players will cement their legacy, but that will only be done if we consistently perform every week in the big games.
TWFC Web: And what is your message to the crowd for Saturday?
ML: To enjoy it! The players will certainly be enjoying the occasion so the fans need to also. The louder they can be and the more supportive they can be, the better it is for us. Home advantage in a Quarter Final is massive and we need to use it as much as possible. The support from the fans is something the players speak about a lot and we are looking forward to hearing them all on Saturday.
28/02/2013 - FA VASE HISTORY BITES
This is the first time that either Tunbridge Wells or Hadleigh United have appeared in an FA Vase Quarter Final match. Hadleigh have twice before reached the Fifth Round stage (season 1994/95 and 2012/13), and they’ve never lost a Fourth Round tie. The only time that Hadleigh have previously faced a side from Kent competitively came en route to getting to the FA Vase Fifth Round in the mid-nineties when Corinthian were beaten 3-1 at home in the Third Round. This came in only Hadleigh’s fourth season after joining the Eastern Counties League – towards the end of a spell when the club had been making some big name signings including former Ipswich and Chelsea goalkeeper Jason Winters as a full-time professional.
Eventually the Metropolitan Police would arrest Hadleigh’s Vase aspirations that year and at the end of the season, with money getting short the manager and most of the senior playing staff moved on, ushering in a lean spell in the club’s history. Relegation eventually followed and the club would have to wait until 2009 before promotion to the Eastern Counties Premier Division was again achieved.
A win over Hadleigh this Saturday would represent Tunbridge Wells’ first win over an Eastern Counties League outfit in the FA Vase. In 1984/85 season Wisbech Town extinguished The Wells’ hopes with a 2-0 win in Cambridgeshire. That Tunbridge Wells side would go on to win the Kent League title at the end of the season. And more recently Bury Town ended the hopes of Kevin Metcalf’s Tunbridge Wells side in 2004/05 with a 1-0 win in Suffolk at the Third Round stage.
02/03/2013 - SUPER WELLS INTO THE VASE SEMIS!!!
The incredible FA Vase run continues! Only the two games of a two-leg Semi Final now stand between Tunbridge Wells FC and Wembley after Hadleigh United were beaten 2-0 at Culverden this afternoon. Andy Irvine scored twice to see The Wells safely through. Making the occasion even more special was the raucous backing of the 1,180 crowd that eclipsed the previous club record of 967 (since reforming). Congratulations to the entire team on this exceptional achievement, and to the support for turning out in such numbers!
Tunbridge Wells will now take their place in Monday’s FA Vase semi-final draw, due to be made at 3pm, live on talkSPORT (1089 or 1053 AM). Northern League outfit Spennymoor are also guaranteed a semi-final spot after winning 3-1 at home to Gornal. Walsall Wood and Guernsey (who played out a 0-0 draw after extra time) and Ascot United or Shildon (who drew 1-1 at Shildon after extra time) will replay next weekend to decide the other two semi-finallists. The dates for the two semi-final games are Saturday March 23 and Saturday March 30. Keep them free in your diary, and in the meantime, keep spreading the word around town that there’s something great in the making at Culverden!
AND... Don't forget that next weekend, The Wells will be playing in another semi-final - this time the Kent Senior Trophy - against Erith & Belvedere. If this was your first time at Culverden and you enjoyed it, why not come back next weekend for another dose of Cup football and see if The Wells can set up a Cup Final with Lordswood?
04/03/2013 - FA VASE SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Having become only the third Kentish club to reach the Semi-Final stage of the FA Vase, we now get a little closer to knowing who stands between us and Wembley. The draw for the FA Vase Semi-Final has been made as follows:
First Leg (Saturday, 23 March)
Walsall Wood/Guernsey v Spennymoor
Tunbridge Wells v Ascot United/Shildon
Second Leg (Saturday, 30 March)
Spennymoor v Walsall Wood/Guernsey
Ascot United/Shildon v Tunbridge Wells
"I'm happy to be at home first," Martin Larkin told us once he'd come off air with talkSPORT, where the draw had been made live. "I prefer that as it means we can set the tone and then we have the Second Leg to score away goals in giving them less time to recover. Whoever we would have got was going to be tough. We now need to focus on important league games and a cup Semi Final (Kent Senior Trophy on Saturday at Culverden) before tackling the winners of Saturday's replay."
05/03/2013 - WELLS SCOOP LEAGUE HONOURS
Owing to the spate of postponements over January and February, the Kent League has issued a joint Manager of the Month Award for those two months. The winner is Tunbridge Wells' Martin Larkin, who follows on from winning the December award too. The Wells have indeed enjoyed a rich vein of form over January and February winning games against Greenwich, Lordswood and Fisher, and enjoying success in the FA Vase (Dunston UTS and Larkhall). Commenting on his previous award at the end of December, Martin was quick to point out that it is ultimately a team effort that won him that award. As though to underline that, Tunbridge Wells FC also scooped the League's 'Goals of the Month' award for December and January (awarded for the most goals scored during that period). Congratulations to one and all!
12/03/2013 - FA VASE: STEAMING UP THE FINAL HILL
Following Saturday’s FA Vase replay at Ascot United, it emerged that Shildon AFC from the Northern League will stand between Tunbridge Wells and a first ever Wembley FA Vase Final against either Spennymoor or Guernsey. “I’m really looking forward to the Semi-final game now we know who we have,” first team boss Martin Larkin told us. “Shildon are a big club with a strong tradition so we are going to be tested like we have not been tested before. That Second Leg is a long one away in Newcastle, but that’s what makes the Vase so special.”
Sitting in mid-table of the Northern League, but with plenty of games in hand on the teams around them, rather predictably our opponents are known as ‘The Railwaymen’. Shildon, located 13 miles to the north of Darlington, has a rich railway heritage and grew significantly after 1825 when the Stockton & Darlington Railway established its engine workshops there. Built to connect several collieries around Shildon, those who mix an interest in football with railways will know that the Stockton & Darlington Railway was also the world’s first publically subscribed passenger railway, and that among the Shildon works’ most famous locomotives was Sans Pareil (‘Without Parallel’ in French), built by Timothy Hackworth. This steam engine took part in the Rainhill Trials, designed to select a locomotive builder for the nearly-completed Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1829.
Boasting a rich heritage of their own, you need to step back into the 1930s to find records of Shildon meeting other sides from Kent – namely Dartford at home in the FA Cup Second Round (1936/37) and then Bromley away (1937/38) in the FA Amateur Cup Quarter Final. These resulted in 0-3 and 1-4 defeats respectively. Shildon AFC share with Tunbridge Wells in the fact that this is the first FA Vase Semi-Final they have played in. They reached the Quarter Final on one previous occasion when in Season 2009/10 they were beaten by Whitley Bay who were on the march to Wembley to win the second of their record four consecutive FA Vase crowns.
Back in 1829, Sans Pareil was beaten to the £500 prize at the Rainhill Trials by George and Robert Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’, which was the only engine to complete the trials (although Sans Pareil offered a decent contest before cracking a cylinder - manufactured, ironically, by the Stephensons). The Stephensons ultimately won the contract to produce locomotives for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Not entirely unlike those Rainhill Trials, it’s been a long and testing journey for both of these football clubs as they prepare to climb the final hill of the FA Vase that leads to Wembley. Will Tunbridge Wells keep up their head of steam to derail the hopes of another proud product of Shildon?
According to Larkin, the crowd has its part to play to help get his side firing all cylinders. “We know that we are going to have to take advantage of being at home first, and the crowd will have a big part to play in that. The boys really responded to the crowd in the Quarter Finals, so now we want an even bigger gate to really get behind them.”
13/03/2013 - KST FINALISTS 2012/13
Just when you think things can't get much better at Culverden, Tunbridge Wells nudge the bar a little higher - and this time it has nothing to do with the FA Vase! Congratulations to Martin Larkin and his side who have reached the Kent Senior Trophy final tonight beating Erith & Belvedere 3-0 at Park View Road. Second half goals from Jon Pilbeam and Jack Harris (twice) set up a date with Lordswood in the Final which will be played at Tonbridge Angels FC on Sunday, April 14, Kick-Off 3pm. This will be the third Kent Senior Trophy Final the side has featured in over the past decade – and Larkin and several of his players will be keen to win this trophy after seeing it slip from their grasp at the end of the 2010/11 Season. In total The Wells have featured in four Kent Senior Trophy Finals in the past without winning it. Will this one prove to be fifth time lucky?
24/03/2013 - FA VASE HIGHLIGHTS
Tunbridge Wells take a 2-0 lead to Shildon for the Second Leg of the FA Vase Semi Final next Saturday. The Wells were cheered on by a record crowd of 1,754. In case you missed a crucial piece of the action, NonleaguefootballTV, filming the game from behind the dugouts, has provided some highlights here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPH2C4vYTp0
30/03/2013 - WEM - BER - LEY, WEM - BER - LEY
It’s the stuff that fairy tales are made of. It’s the kind of thing that only happens to other teams. It may even have occupied the wildest parts of the strangest dreams of Tunbridge Wells’ supporters – but nobody could have believed that it could ever become reality, surely!
TUNBRDIGE WELLS ARE GOING TO WEMBLEY!
A 2-3 defeat up at Shildon (AET) ensures that The Wells progressed to the FA VASE FINAL 4-3 after winning the first leg at Culverden 2-0. It’s been a road with many twists and turns and the occasional bump along the way, but of the 544 clubs initially accepted in this year’s FA Vase competition, The Wells are one of the two sides to have arrived at the final destination: On May 4th, Club Captain Jason Bourne will lead the troops on to the Wembley turf for this season’s FA Vase Final against Spennymoor of the Northern League after beating Shildon over two legs in the semi-finals.
Congratulations to Martin Larkin, Brad Sandeman and each and every one of the squad on this incredible achievement. You’ve given the town and the wider county something to shout about, and created a memory among the supporters that will last a life-time. Reaction and interviews will follow in the build-up to the final as the club now seeks to make their Wembley jaunt a winning one.
31/03/2013 - FA VASE HIGHLIGHTS
Watch the goals from the FA Vase Semi-Final Second Leg here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yk5LhaWIws
14/04/2013 - SUPER WELLS BAG SILVERWARE!
The elephant that’s been standing in the room dressed as an empty trophy cabinet for several years has been shown the door! Tunbridge Wells FC have won their first major cup since 1988 and their first Kent Senior Trophy at the fifth attempt.
A crowd of 736 saw The Wells win 2-1 against Lordswood at Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead Stadium this afternoon. The result ensures that having reached two cup finals, Tunbridge Wells’ exceptional season will not be without its silverware after Martin Larkin’s men won the first of the two. It took a second half fight-back after an early first half goal from Lordswood sent The Wells in a goal behind at the break, but an own goal and a Jon Pilbeam goal (60 and 84 mins) turned the match around to ensure Tunbridge Wells lift the trophy.
Congratulations to the entire team, many of whom have worked hard over several seasons to get to where they are today and now have some tangible reward to show for their endeavours. As winners of the Kent Senior Trophy, next season Tunbridge Wells will take part in the Kent Senior Cup where the likes of Charlton Athletic, or a tasty local derby against Tonbridge become possibilities.
15/04/2013 - ...WEMBLEY TICKETS...
The Wells have sold almost 6,400 of their 10,000 ticket allocation for the FA Vase Final at Wembley. Have you got yours yet? If not, here are the details again:
The FA Carlsberg Vase Final
Spennymoor Town V Tunbridge Wells
Saturday 4 May 2013
Kick Off 3pm
Ticket Prices: £15 Adults, £5 Children under 16
23/04/2013 - CLUB SHOP UPDATE
With Tunbridge Wells' Wembley ticket sales breaking the 8,000-barrier (8,222 to be precise), make sure you look the part for The Wells' big day! Don't forget to pop along to the temporary club shop in town - based in the reception area of The Courier's offices in Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells. The shop is open weekdays 9am-5pm.
26/04/2013 - NEW WEMBLEY SHOP OPENING
Could The Wells be the first non-league club to have a chain of club shops?
From tomorrow, as well as having a shop in the reception area of The Courier's offices in Calverley Road, the club is opening a shop in The Royal Victoria Place in the shop unit that used to provide fish pedicures. The shop will be open from 9am tomorrow until Friday 3rd May - so if you're shopping/wandering nearby, don't forget to call in and pick up your Wembley merchandise. The Courier-based club shop will continue to be open 9-5, Monday through Friday 3rd next week.
And it's not just the merchandise that's selling. Approximately 1,250 of the original Tunbridge Wells allocation of 10,000 tickets remain for the final (as of Friday, April 26)!
29/04/2013 - OPEN TRAINING SESSION
The Wells will be training at Culverden tomorrow night (Tuesday) from 7.30pm. The bar will be open, and supporters are welcome to come along and watch (free entry). ITV will also have their cameras at the session. Once training finishes, why not stay and have a drink with the players and wish them all the very best for Saturday's big match.
01/05/2013 - WEMBLEY SALES HIT THE SWEET SPOT
It's been a tremendous effort by the supporters, well-wishers and Kent football community - ticket sales for the FA Vase Final have gone through the initial 10,000 barrier: 10,042 of Tunbridge Wells' Wembley ticket allocation have now been sold (Blocks 128-143 are currently open).
For those still without a ticket but intending to come on the day - don't worry! You can still buy them on the day at Wembley. Cost is £15 adults, £5 for concessions. So don't be put off coming along to support The Wells on the day and make Saturday an even more special occasion!
The Courier's reception-come-club shop in Calverley Road reports that a few hats, one mug and one polo shirt are currently left for purchase. The second club shop in Royal Victoria Place closed this afternoon having sold out of stock. The club would like to thank you all for your incredible support!
02/05/2013 - MARTIN LARKIN: PRE-WEMBLEY Q&A
It’s not long now until all the talk stops and the action begins. The players and management of Tunbridge Wells travel up to their team hotel tomorrow (Friday) and in less than 48 hours will be lining up alongside Spennymoor Town to take to the field at Wembley Stadium and compete in this year’s FA Vase Final. Before his mind switched to the formalities surrounding the occasion, however, first team boss Martin Larkin took the time to tackle a brief Q&A session.
TWFC Web: In many of the interviews you’ve given about the FA Vase, you’ve been diplomatic and measured in your responses. Tell us what it really means to Martin Larkin to be managing The Wells at Wembley on Saturday…
ML: It’s a great honour. Some see it as the culmination to four years’ hard work, but Brad Sandeman [assistant manager] and I honestly see it as the start of the next stage. We are planning for the League next year, and the most exciting thing about this game at Wembley is the impact it is having on the club.
TWFC Web: Let’s imagine you’ve leaped forward 30-40 years in time. You’re being asked about the Vase run of 2012/13. What enduring memory would you expect to stand out above all the others, pre-Vase Final?
ML: Just how close we are as a group, which is highlighted by the impact the bench has had on each game in this run. No one has sulked when they haven’t started. They have been supportive and then, when they have been called upon, they’ve delivered each time.
Two memories stand out especially: Beating Dunston at home and seeing how that literally changed the confidence and belief within the group; and the feeling when Jack Harris scored at Larkhall. We were very close to going out at Larkhall, and that would have been worse than previous years’ Vase defeats to St. Ives and Leverstock Green put together as they were nowhere near our level of ability and it would have taken a very long time to get over that!
TWFC Web: Walk us through the schedule leading up to the match…
ML: On Friday we are meeting for a squad photo in the morning and then travelling to Wembley to have a look around the pitch and changing rooms. Then we travel to our hotel in Windsor. We’ll have a team dinner and meeting before announcing the team.
We arrive at Wembley on Saturday for 1pm, suited, booted and ready to play! [Ed. So now you know, folks, make sure you’re there to give the lads a decent welcome.]
TWFC Web: Any injury worries ahead of Saturday? You were running your eye over Tom Davey on Monday, and Andy Irvine had an issue last week, but played 45 minutes against Cray Valley PM.
ML: We have a fully-fit squad to choose from, including Tom and Andy. So no injury worries ahead of the match.
TWFC Web: The Wells go in to this encounter as clear underdogs. If you could send your players on to the pitch with only three words ringing in their heads, what would those be, and why are they core to your message to them?
ML: The three words we have on the inside of the door to our changing room will be the three things they will be thinking about. They have been there for two years, and when we stick to them we normally win. The words have been the backbone of our Vase run, so hopefully we can take the emotion out of the day and stick to them… and no, you aren’t getting them…!!!
TWFC Web: What have you learnt about this group of players that you didn’t already know as they’ve pushed through the rounds to get to Wembley?
ML: I think the one thing we questioned before was how good they really wanted to be. Lots of players talk about winning things and playing at Wembley, but they don’t have that extra 10% to deliver it.
The Dunston win changed all of that, and I would back them in any situation now. The long coach journeys and away trips allow you to get to know the person a bit more as well, and I have nothing but respect for them as a group of men.
TWFC Web: Finally, the initial ticket allocation of 10,000 for Tunbridge Wells’ fans has been surpassed. It’s a real mix of veteran supporters, first-timers, well-wishers, and members of the Kent football community county-wide. What’s your message to them for the big day?
ML: Be noisy! There’s no point us having 10,000-plus there if you aren’t making any noise, so get on your feet and get behind the team. We will be giving everything on the day, but you will be able to push us further, just like the fans have done the whole way through this run.
02/05/2013 - MASCOTS TO REPRESENT HOSPICE ON THE WEALD
First team manager Martin Larkin is proud to confirm that the players' mascots on Saturday will walk onto the Wembley turf wearing T-Shirts representing local charity Hospice in the Weald. The Hospice is not part of the NHS but is a local charity and is rooted in the community we as a football club serve. They offer vital services free of charge to people with progressive life-limiting illnesses, their carers and families.
Martin explained, “As a charity they are a group that we work with closely at my work, and the guys in the team here have links to them. Joe, our Chairman was very supportive of the idea and I thank him for that. If we can help raise the profile of the Hospice further through our exploits at Wembley then that will be great.”
Richard Warner from the Hospice added, “Hospice in the Weald are delighted to support Tunbridge Wells FC in the FA Vase final on Saturday 4 May, and we hope you win. We appreciate the support that the club have offered to us and are so proud that the team mascots will be wearing Hospice in the Weald T-Shirts on your big day. We hope that the wonderfully positive atmosphere of the Hospice will help achieve a positive result at Wembley.” Replica T-Shirts as worn by the mascots will be signed by the squad and auctioned off after the game to help raise funds for the charity. Discover more at http://www.hospiceintheweald.org.uk/
03/05/2013 - 11,000 UP!
As of today, 11,094 tickets have been sold for the Tunbridge Wells end at Wembley (Blocks 126-143 currently open). If you haven't got yours yet, tickets can be purchased on match day at Wembley Stadium. £15 adults, £5 concessions.
05/05/2013 - WELLS GO DOWN FIGHTING
Unfortunately the FA Vase proved to be just beyond The Wells' reach as they played out an exciting match with Spennymoor at Wembley - but it certainly wasn't for the want of effort, and the crowd of more than 16,000 saw a performance full of character and guts.
Josh Stanford scored the goal in the 2-1 defeat which will have undoubtedly felt disappointing for the players and management who fought so determinedly to get to the Vase Final, but the supporters walked away from the national stadium filled with pride at their team and the effort they'd watched unfold on the pitch. As was made clear in the lead up to the Vase Final, this wasn't the culmination of everything this side has been building towards - merely the start of the next step - and having secured one piece of silverware this season, good things surely lay ahead for this group of players. If this was your first game watching The Wells, don't make it your last - come down to Culverden and enjoy the next chapter with us.
Congratulations to Spennymoor. We wish you the best for the remainder of the season.