FA Vase 10th anniversary charity game for the Mark Taylor ‘Ten Years On’ trophy

Sunday sees the 10th anniversary of Whitley Bay FC winning the first of their three consecutive FA Vase Finals at Wembley Stadium, a unique achievement which may never be matched.

This Sunday around 40 former Bay players from the three Wembley squads will be playing in a North v South of the Tyne 30 minutes each way game with the two teams managed by former Bay manager  Ian Chandler (south) and his assistant Steve Cuggy (north).  The winners will receive the Mark Taylor ‘Ten Years On’ trophy. Originally planned as a fund-raiser for motor neurone disease research, it was decided to change and support the Livermore family following the tragic death of Robbie earlier this year.  As one of the club’s Vase winners from 2002, Robbie would undoubtedly have been very much involved in the occasion.

Kick off at Hillheads is at 1.00pm with proceeds from the day going to the Livermore family.

It should be a great occasion and reunion. Just two of the Vase winning players are still at Whitley Bay – Callum Anderson and Craig McFarlane. Many have now retired, most recently Paul Chow, who will be putting on his boots for one more time.

Mark Taylor played in the 2009 Final but it was his last game as soon after that great day out he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Despite his illness, he has been heavily involved in the organisation of the event and here he explains more about the special reunion.

“As the ten year reunion of the 2009 victory at Wembley approached myself and a few players I am in regular contact with such as Paul Robinson, Phil Bell, David Coulson and Darren Timmons thought it would be a good idea to approach the club to do a reunion match. The initial thought was to play the current Whitley Bay team but a lot of the lads and management are very much past it now. I suggested that we could combine the three vase squads and have a North v South of the Tyne match. This idea quickly took off and Gary Ormston and David Pounder were tasked with letting the players and management know, most of wh0 fortunately could attend to the May 5th date set. It would have been nice for everyone to attend and play but unfortunately that was not possible but 90% of players will be playing like Sparky (Lee Kerr), Paul Chow, Paul Robinson and Chris Moore.

“The initial thoughts were to raise funds for MND but the tragic death of Robbie Livermore while we were organising things shifted the fund raising to raising money for his family. The club got behind the event straight away, producing a programme with memories over the three years, as well as support for Robbie’s family. Everyone is really looking forward to reuniting with old teammates and fans. It would be great to see as many fans as possible there to watch the game and reminisce about the most successful period in the history of the club and non league football nationally.”

Striker Paul Chow has just retired but will be putting on his boots again for this special occasion. He told the club website “I’m really looked forward to next weekend’s 10 year FA Vase reunion. It’ll be great to catch up with all the lads again and share a dressing room with so many top Northern League players. Although I’m excited to pull on my boots at Hillheads, playing in Robbie’s memory will make it very special. Hopefully a healthy crowd will help towards the collection for his family. Reminiscing about the Vase glory days is one of my favourite pastimes. A few of my memories from the first FA Vase victory…. Standing in the centre circle 90 minutes before ko and just trying to take it all in. Looking at the size of the stands and imagining it full. It was quite daunting. Thankfully those feelings subsided at ko. The time it takes for the roar to reach you from the fans seems to take an eternity. It was probably only milliseconds but it seems a hell of a lot longer. I’ve scored hundreds of goals during my career and that first goal at Wembley is my favourite. Everyone asks about the 21 seconds goal and I will always get reminded of that one as it put my name in the record books. But that first goal meant so much. Having reached the semi final 12 months earlier and been so close to playing at Wembley. At the time thinking we would never get that close again. To get there the following season to score and win the trophy was unbelievable.”

A special souvenir programme is being produced and will be on sale at the game price £1.50.  Anyone unable to attend can buy a copy for £2.50 which includes postage. For details contact wbfcinfo@gmail.com