Gosport Borough hard man Jamie Brown admits he is preparing for one of the toughest battles of his career – holding back the tears at Wembley.
The Privett Park skipper, renowned for his no-nonsense leadership from central midfield, has found himself caught up in the emotion of the run-up to the FA Trophy final against Cambridge United on Sunday.
And while he still hasn’t allowed himself to take it for granted he will be selected in the side, Brown revealed he will be attempting to contain a rare sighting of his softer side as he contemplates the magnitude of the achievement.
Brown said: ‘I don’t normally cry but I’ve found myself sat in my car thinking about it and getting emotional.
‘I’ve been getting a bit choked up to be honest.
‘If I lead the lads out as captain, I couldn’t describe how amazing that would be.
‘I think we do the national anthem before the game.
‘I’ll be gone. I’m pretty sure it will be tears and the whole works!’
The former Eastleigh man has been arguably Borough’s most consistent performer this term but he will be out to prove himself once again.
And he feels his work-rate and commitment make up for what he believes is a lack of technical ability.
And considering the 32-year-old has twice been told his career was over because of injury, it’s remarkable he is even playing at all.
He said: ‘Technically, I’m not very good – I know that.
‘I always feel I have to prove myself in every game.
‘But I also know my strengths. I know I can run for 90 minutes and will put a lot of challenges in and I know what I can give to a team.
‘I pick up a few bookings and suspensions but I always say the ratio of bookings to the important challenges I make is good.
‘I’ve been booked 10 times this season but I’ve made far more important tackles than that.
‘But playing over the past 14 years, I’ve had a couple of bad injuries and been told twice I would never play again.
‘I had a hip problem and had three operations on it.
‘Over the course of two seasons back in 2006, I played 14 games for Eastleigh.
‘If it wasn’t for Ian Baird sticking his neck out and giving me another deal, I probably wouldn’t have carried on.
‘Nobody would have taken a gamble on a one-legged donkey. But the donkey is still just about running about!’
Brown also dismissed any notion of enjoying the occasion, regardless of the result.
He said: ‘Some people might talk about going there and enjoying the day. No chance – I want to win.
‘I suppose we are there to be the whipping boys. But I’m not. I want to be up there lifting that cup at the end of the game.
‘We’re underdogs but we’re very good at one-off games.’
n See The News tomorrow for a 16-page special supplement: Borough At Wembley.