SHERPA VAN TROPHY MEMORIES: David Felgate says Bolton Wanderers fans were like an extra man in Wembley triumph
IT was a special day Wanderers goalkeeper David Felgate thought may never arrive after a three-year wait to grace the Wembley turf.
The Sherpa Van Trophy final of 1989 saw the Whites win silverware at Wembley for the first time since the FA Cup side of 1958.
For Felgate, it had been a shorter wait after he was cruelly denied the chance to play for Wanderers in the Freight Rover Trophy final in 1986.
On loan at Burnden Park from Grimsby Town, Felgate’s spell came to an end before the big Wembley date against Bristol City and he was denied a chance to play under the famous Twin Towers.
The Welsh stopper signed for the Whites and, fortunately for him, they were back at Wembley three years later.
Wanderers fell behind to a Dean Edwards header in the first half, but hit back through Julian Darby.
Second-half strikes via a John Morrison own goal, Dean Crombie and Trevor Morgan sealed a 4-1 win and gave Felgate that feeling he had dreamt of for years.
Felgate told The Bolton News: “I remember the feeling I had when I found out I could not play against Bristol City and it was awful.
“My loan had ended a week earlier and I even think their boss, Terry Cooper, was okay with me playing but it wasn’t to be.
“You wonder if you will ever get the chance to play at Wembley again.
“Thankfully, it came my way three years later and what a special day it was.
“I remember we went down really early and stayed down in London and there was a great team spirit in that group of players.
“We prepared well and went into it confident after ending the season with a run of 19 games unbeaten. I just couldn’t see us losing.
“We just needed it to all come right on the day and thankfully we fired on all cylinders.”
Felgate wanted to soak the occasion in full and vividly remembers the noise levels walking onto the pitch.
Despite falling behind to Cyril Knowles’s side, Felgate always felt Wanderers would go on to win and so it proved.
The 54-year-old, who now works as a coach at Manchester City, added: “We started brightly and then conceded from a corner and I think and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
“But we were confident and when we got level, I was not to concede again.
“I made a couple of saves at 2-1 but that was my job – they were saves I was expected to make.
“But I didn’t concede again and we scored two more, including that Dean Crombie goal where he just ran and ran and kept going to score.
“It was that special feeling when the final whistle went.
“I sat on the floor afterwards trying to let it all sink in and was trying to find my family and enjoy it with them.
“I was drained but you forgot your tiredness to sprint up the stairs to get your winner’s medal and I remember Elton John handing the trophy over.
“Then it was celebrations in front of something like 25,000 Wanderers fans before heading back to the dressing rooms and those big old baths.
“The fans were special that day, and during my whole time at Bolton, because they travelled in big numbers everywhere.
“To win a cup for them was fantastic because they really were like an extra man for us in games.”