Soccer: Wycombe cup memories already priceless

Lawrie Sanchez maintains that the magic of the FA Cup is founded on glory and that he would not give up his winners’ medal for any amount of cash.

Lawrie Sanchez maintains that the magic of the FA Cup is founded on glory and that he would not give up his winners’ medal for any amount of cash.

His argument could not be finer illustrated by the relative riches of his Wycombe battlers and Sunday’s semi-final opponents Liverpool, the team Sanchez so famously felled with the only goal of the 1988 final.

The Second Division outfit will pick up just £250-a-man should they pull off the improbable and triumph at Villa Park and lifting the trophy would only see them £1,000 better off.

In truth, that is a result of a collective faux pas by the three players still remaining from the club’s Conference days, Dave Carroll, Jason Cousins and Keith Ryan, who re-negotiated the incentive scheme at Adams Park last summer.

The historic last-gasp victory in the quarter-final clash with Leicester reaped just £130 after tax for their troubles just under a quarter of their normal win bonus.

Wanderers’ long-serving trio’s pick-up pails into insignificance in comparison to three of Liverpool’s Englishmen, strikers Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey, who earn an average of £40,000-a-week.

Cousins and Co believed they were ready to make an assault on promotion this season. Subsequently they sacrificed cup bonuses in favour of better League pay-outs.

History was in their favour as the Chairboys had never previously gone beyond round three of the world’s oldest knockout competition.

But their Cup heroics have overtaken their lofty League ambitions and a run of just one win in six matches since the Filbert Street sensation has resulted in a nervous glance or two over the shoulders at the relegation fight.

‘‘Being realistic we were not going to win the FA Cup but the play-offs were our genuine target this season,’’ said Cousins.

‘‘The League is our bread and butter and we thought we would do well after a decent year last time around.

‘‘We had never gone past the third round before so going further was going to be enjoyable, whatever.’’

The 15 minutes of fame the Wycombe players enjoyed following the epic win over Sanchez’s former club Wimbledon has been extended into what must seem like 15 years following their booking of a last-four spot.

The waiting is almost over and the squad returned from southern Spain late last night following a break from the spotlight.

And goodness knows what will happen should club captain Cousins score.

The full-back, dubbed Psycho by the Adams Park faithful, knows only too well the trouble that over-indulging in the moment can lead to. His opening goal in the 1993 FA Trophy final victory over Runcorn got him in hot water.

‘‘It was about 30 seconds or a minute into the game at Wembley. We got a free-kick, I threw Dave Carroll out of the way, threw Steve Guppy out the way and said: ‘I’m having this’.

‘‘I hit it quite sweetly, it went into the bottom corner and that was it. I was off, over the greyhound track, up the railings, wanting to get in among the supporters. I had the stewards dragging me back and I got a reprimand from the FA for my trouble.’’

He still has the match ball, however, a memento money cannot buy. Likewise being part of a famous victory against the mega-bucks men of Anfield.

For a lower division journeyman that surely would be priceless.

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