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A Saintly start for final’s rival chiefs
11:12am Saturday 15th May 2010 in York City v Oxford United - Wembley play-off final
Former Southampton trainee Martin Foyle shared a dressing room with the likes of Peter Shilton and Kevin Keegan after breaking into the first team.
He also played top-flight football with Oxford after impressing at Aldershot following loan spells with Swedish club Munkfors and Blackburn.
Going on to become Port Vale’s record post-war goalscorer, he played at Wembley for the club three times, finishing on the winning side once and on the losing team twice, although he enjoyed the consolation of two goals in a 5-2 Anglo-Italian Cup final defeat to Genoa.
Foyle went on to manage Vale’s youth team after hanging up his boots ten years ago and took full charge of the club in 2004 at the age of 41.
In his first campaign he was only denied a League One play-off place by goal difference and managed to preserve the club’s status in that division despite a succession of player sales.
A poor start to the 2007/8 campaign cost him his job though.
Foyle went on to become Brian Little’s assistant at Wrexham before replacing Colin Walker at Bootham Crescent in November 2008 and guiding the club to a Wembley appearance in the FA Trophy final.
Turning the club from relegation candidates to promotion contenders in 12 months, he can now look forward to his fifth trip to the famous home of English football.
Like Foyle, full-back Wilder started out as a trainee at Southampton but failed to make the grade and moved on to Sheffield United before embarking on a nomadic career that took him to Walsall, Charlton, Leyton Orient, Rotherham, Notts County, Bradford, Sheffield United again, Northampton, Lincoln, Brighton and Halifax.
The only club he racked up more than 100 league appearances for in that time was Rotherham but he was a member of the Sheffield United squad that rose from the old Third Division to the First Division under Dave Bassett before leaving the club on the advent of the Premier League.
Wilder later became manager of Halifax at the age of 34 after replacing former City youth coach Neil Redfearn, who was doing the job in a caretaker capacity.
Redfearn, himself, had taken over from another former Minsterman Alan Little, who had fallen ill with appendicitis.
Handed the reins after the club had dropped into the Conference in 2002, Wilder only inherited five players with the club in administration.
Aside from a play-off final appearance at the Walkers Stadium in 2006, when the Shaymen were unlucky to lose to Hereford after extra time, he was often fire-fighting at the other end of the table during a six-year reign beset by financial constraints.
When the club’s off-field problems led to a demotion of three divisions two years ago, Wilder left to become Alan Knill’s assistant at Bury before he succeeded Darren Patterson as Oxford chief in December 2008.
An impressive end to his first season saw the U’s almost snatch a play-off place but, this season, the club let a strong lead at the top slip before rallying to secure a top-five spot.
Tale of the tape
Previous clubs managed: Port Vale.
Management record: Games 286, won 109, drawn 67, lost 110.
Management honours: FA Trophy 2009 finalist, Blue Square Premier play-off finalist 2010.
Previous clubs managed: Halifax.
Management record: Games 391, Won 167, Drawn 95, Lost 129.
Management honours: Blue Square Premier play-off finalist 2006, 2010.
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