YORK City players will be striving to land their first FA Trophy Wembley winners’ medal on Saturday – but one York-born former player already owns two.
Sean Marshall is a dual victor at Wembley, where he appeared in no fewer than three FA Trophy finals for North Yorkshire rivals Scarborough during their 1970s halcyon days as the nation’s leading non-League cup experts.
Marshall’s Wembley experience began poorly with a 4-0 defeat to Matlock Town in 1974, but he and the Seadogs – back under the managerial helm of former Leicester City star Colin Appleton – returned to the twin towers in 1976 and 1977 to lift the FA Trophy with respective 3-2 and 2-1 conquests of Stafford Rangers and Dagenham.
And Marshall’s first Wembley triumph was an even bigger personal landmark as it was his coolly-dispatched penalty in the last minute of extra time that was to confirm Boro’s victory over Stafford.
So the former food technician at Nestlé Rowntree holds a double Wembley treasure trove just as the Minstermen club, with which he first started his teenage career as one of City’s first intake of intermediates, seek to claim an historic first domestic knockout cup success.
Said Marshall, now aged 58 and a partner in a tiling and kitchen fitting business: “I just hope that City can crown what has been a strange season by winning at Wembley against Stevenage on Saturday.”
His advice to the City players was not to blink. As he explained: “It just goes all so fast. The entire day can go in a flash.”
But more than 30 years after his last conquest at Wembley, Marshall said the memories were still a joy to recall.
“When I look back it was a hell of an achievement. Remember Scarborough had first won the FA Trophy in 1973 under Colin Appleton. He then left and I was in the team that unbelievably lost to Matlock 4-0 in 1974. When Appleton returned a year later we got to two more finals in ’76 and ’77 and won both. Four finals in five years is brilliant.
“Obviously, winning at Wembley is far sweeter than losing, but I can still remember key moments from all three finals I played in.”
Born and bred in York, central defender Marshall was one of the first Intermediates at Bootham Crescent. Between the age of 15 and 21 he also figured in a flurry of reserve games but never broke through into the senior ranks.
At the third attempt – he was twice blocked by injury – Marshall linked up with Appleton at Boro, where he featured for almost a decade, the latter years as skipper.
“After that first loss to Matlock I was quoted as saying it was better to have lost and played at Wembley than never to have played there before,” said Marshall.
“But it was even better to go back and win and the highlight was scoring that winning penalty against Stafford.
“I am really pleased that my home-city club have avoided the drop and now have the chance of a glory day at Wembley.
“I just hope they try to let it all sink in.”