Gosport Borough: Pike’s call to seize the day

Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike
Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike
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Alex Pike has told his Gosport Borough troops: Write your names in history.

The Privett Park boss leads the side to Wembley in confident mood ahead of tomorrow’s FA Trophy final battle with Cambridge United.

And Pike is determined to get the maximum from his players as they bid to cause a major upset against their higher-division opponents to carry off the silverware.

Pike said: ‘It’s the biggest game that most of these players will ever play.

‘We are playing at the home of English football, if not world football.

‘It’s a huge occasion for the club and the town.

‘But now we’re here, we’re here to win it.

‘And we will win it – I have not come away and put this effort in to say we are not coming here to win the trophy. We will win it. I have confidence in every single one of these players and my management team.

‘I assembled this team and I am really proud I am taking them to Wembley.

‘I know their strengths and we are going there to win the competition.

‘If the manager doesn’t believe it, then who does?’

Pike’s well-documented motivational skills will be put to the test as he guards against players being overawed by the occasion.

He said: ‘I know they all have ability but I need to extract that mental side out of them.

‘I will not have to motivate anyone. Everyone will be up for it but some will be intimidated by the occasion and I can’t have players being intimidated.

‘But we’ve shown we can raise our game and I don’t know the mindset of the Cambridge players.

‘No matter how well their manager prepares them, they’ll look at the fact that we’re 43 places below them. You can’t get it out of players’ minds.

‘I’ve been there myself – the worst ones to try to motivate players are the games against teams at the bottom of the table, where people think you only have to turn up to win.’

And after leading Wimborne Town to Wembley victory in 1992, Pike shrugged off the fact he could become the first manager to win both of the top national non-league competitions – the FA Vase and the FA Trophy

‘When I was a young manager I had a massive, great ego but this is not about me,’ said Pike.

‘This is about Gosport Borough and the players.’

The club is already guaranteed £25,000 in prize money but they could yet bank a £50,000 winner’s cheque.

And a mass exodus from the town will see Borough roared on by more than 12,000 fans, with the final attendance figure expected to break the 25,000 barrier.

That could yet grow as tickets are available to buy on the day at Wembley – with adults paying £30 and under-16s £15.

Pike said: ‘It’s going to be a special day for everyone connected to the club and we will be doing everything we can to bring the trophy back to Gosport.’