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WFC ROAD TO WEMBLEY: ’84 left-back gives some tips

 Published on: 13th May 2019   |   By: Jake Levison   |   Category: Watford FC

Former Watford left-back Neil Price was somewhat of a surprise inclusion in the 1984 cup final against an impressive Everton side, having only played a handful of games for the club. 

But at the age of just 20, Neil had experienced an occasion bigger than what most experience in their lifetime – albeit, suffering an underwhelming 2-0 loss. 

30 years on, he’s giving the current Watford players some top advice on how to avoid the same fate.

He said: “Enjoy it, drink it in… but don’t drown. I remember going to Wembley in ’84 and we were just trying to enjoy it and take in the occasion – when really, we needed to just focus on getting a job done and thought about all that later.

“Yes, it’s an incredible occasion, so you want to make the most of it and take it all in but they need to go in to win it, not to enjoy it.”

Neil also gave some insight into what it’s like to be out there on the pitch.

He said: “It’s so odd because you’ve got 90,000 screaming at you and it’s so loud, but at the same time you’re in your own little bubble. 

“It’s like a cauldron of noise out there and yet the only voice you’re hearing is the one in your head. There’s really nothing else like it.”

And Neil admitted the unique occasion was clearly too much for his young side.

“We were all really inexperienced and didn’t really know how to cope,” he said.

“We were all a bit too young I think, Even Barnesy (John Barnes) was about 20 or 21, I was only 20.

“You need some old heads in there to stand a chance, and also a bit of luck. We didn’t have either of those.”

The Watford side going to Wembley this weekend may be coming up against Premier League giants Manchester City, but they’ve proved they can have luck on their side and they’ve also got experience in their squad that the ’84 side may have lacked.

Among their most experienced players is 34-year-old Jose Holebas, who’ll most likely play in Neil’s old left-back spot.

Neil said: “I like Holebas. He’s old-school, isn’t he? He gets stuck in and he’s really improved this season – he’s been one of our best performers.

“He’s the right age now and he probably could’ve been great in our ’84 game – he loves a tackle and has a good left foot.”

Neil may have experienced Wembley in a way that many haven’t, but on May 18 he’ll be another screaming fan like the rest of us.  

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