Ben Fletcher on the brilliant Clive Walker, Lincoln’s ‘intimidating’ atmosphere, and which talkSPORT presenter he’d want to be stuck in a lift with

29 Aug

Football is a game of nostalgia and every player, pundit and fan has their favourite kits, matches and players.

And so decided to ask its finest minds for theirs as part of our ‘My Greatest’ series, with sports newsreader Ben Fletcher our guest this week…

My Greatest: Kit

Woking 1996/97. It featured the traditional cardinal red and white halves that are famous the world over, but this particular one reminds me of a thrilling season – the first in which I went along to games. We went on an FA Cup run (beating Millwall and Cambridge United, before becoming the first non league club EVER to hold a Premier League team, Coventry, on their home ground, then bowing out in a replay), and also won the FA Trophy at the old Wembley.

Steve Thompson models Fletch’s favourite Woking kit

It really felt like we were next in the cab rank for the Football League. How little we knew…

I still see people to this day wearing this jersey to games. It must wash very well!

My Greatest: Game I’ve seen live

Let’s have a non-Woking one, shall we? Fulham 2-1 Hamburg in the 2010 Europa League semi-finals.

To have witnessed such an incredible story in the flesh stood in the Johnny Haynes Stand (and the celebrations after the final whistle to the tune of Frankie Valli) was pretty special.

Craven Cottage was electric that night. Packed to the rafters. The non-league lifer in me loved the upset and it felt like a proper giant killing. Ruud van Nistelrooy didn’t know what hit him.

Fulham made history as they went on a European adventure in 2010
AFP - Getty

My Greatest: Game I’ve ever seen

The most attractive thing about football has always been the storyline to me. The theatre is as enjoyable as – if not more than – the action itself.

This is a really really tough question but I’m going to go with Brazil 1-7 Germany at the 2014 World Cup. Never mind a changing of the guard, this was a violent, merciless ambush.

No one will ever forget where they were when this match was played
Getty Images - Getty

The hosts were absolutely torn apart on home soil. Germany wiped the floor with a nation who for many of my years were the best in the world. It was jaw dropping viewing.

England vs Holland at Euro 96 is another game that had everything.

My Greatest: Moment as a football fan

Being in the old Wembley in May 1997 having just watched Woking win the FA Trophy, sunshine on my face and Champagne Supernova blaring out the PA system.

Every time I hear that song I’m right back there. It’s a moment I’ll always treasure.

My Greatest: Player of all-time

That’s played for my club? Clive Walker.

He was an absolute athlete. At the age of 39 he was bombing past full-backs half his age with no trouble at all… and boy did he have a cross in him. A talisman if ever we had one.

I’ve yet to meet him but will almost certainly fanboy when I do.

Chelsea hero Clive Walker spent four years at Woking

In the wider world of football it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Picking a Dream Team has been a lot lot harder since he left the Premier League. The free-kick against Portsmouth in 2008 stands out in the memory.

David James could only shrug and laugh. If you didn’t know he was half decent before that goal, you did afterwards. An incredible player.

My Greatest: Atmosphere

I went to watch Woking lose at Lincoln City in 2017, the year the Imps were promoted to League Two. The ground, Sincil Bank, was barely half-full, but the singing from the Co-op stand for 90 minutes was incredible.

Intimidating. Inexhaustible. It was just a wall of noise.

I went to university in Lincoln and later met my now wife there, so the city has always held a special place in my heart.

I have no doubt in my mind Lincoln are Premier League-bound. The momentum behind that club is like nothing else I’ve seen. The whole city is pushing that club forward. The Cowley Brothers are ones to watch and Lincoln are very lucky to have them.

My Greatest: Moment at talkSPORT

There are too many to list here, but the night we won Sony Station of the Year in 2011 was a superb one. I was very privileged to be among the black ties and on the guest list that night. We’d finally become one of the ‘big boys’ in sports radio and had a fitting celebration until the sun came up.

It’s funny who you end up working with

Elsewhere, breaking the news on air that Arsene Wenger had announced his departure date from Arsenal was pretty special, and the moment the mic went live the first time I presented my own Extra Time show was an incredibly fulfilling one.

I’m truly blessed to have a job that makes me laugh out loud every day, with people who clearly love what they do.

My Greatest: talkSPORT presenter

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION! I have a lot of love in my heart, in particular, for Alan Brazil, Adrian Durham and Danny Kelly. They are STALWARTS of the station and masters of their craft.

Adam Catterall and Laura Woods are great at what they do too.

But if I had to be stuck in a lift with one for hours and hours… Durham.

Would you want to be stuck in a lift with this man?
Jon Raine/talkSPORT

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

FA Cup third round RESULTS: Manchester City thrash Rotherham, Oldham shock Fulham, no fairy tale for Woking

6 Jan round up all the action from Sunday’s 2pm kick-offs in the FA Cup third round

Fulham 1-2 Oldham

Aleksandar Mitrovic missed a hotly-contested penalty as Fulham were dumped out of the FA Cup 2-1 by League Two side Oldham.

Callum Lang headed in the visitors’ 89th-minute winner to stun the Premier League hosts and prompt extended touchline celebrations from caretaker boss and lifelong supporter Pete Wild.

Lang stunned Fulham in the 88th minute

Denis Odoi’s goal early in the second half meant Fulham were expecting to coast home, only for Oldham to turn the tide.

Bournemouth loan striker Sam Surridge equalised from the penalty spot after Ryan Sessegnon fouled Oldham captain Peter Clarke with his first act after stepping off the bench.

And then Lang buried Gevaro Nepomuceno’s teasing cross, to spark exuberant celebrations on both the Oldham bench and among the delirious travelling supporters.

Replacement striker Mitrovic had spurned the chance to put Fulham back in front from the spot just moments before Oldham’s winner however.

The Serbia striker’s first touch after replacing captain Tom Cairney was to step up and strike the penalty – only to see goalkeeper Daniel Iversen produce a fine save at full stretch.

Mitrovic missed from the spot just moments before Oldham’s winning goal

Fulham’s penalty had only been awarded after a lengthy check from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), with Oldham furious and insistent Christopher Missilou had not connected with Cairney, and that the Fulham skipper had taken a dive.

Mitrovic was the man fuming when Aboubakar Kamara insisted on overruling club orders to take and miss a penalty in Fulham’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield on December 29.

The former Newcastle man proved the hero that day, stealing a late winner.

But in this big FA Cup shock, it was the 24-year-old’s turn to miss from the spot.

That failed penalty ensured one level of justice then, before Oldham dished out their own brand of summary sentencing with Lang sealing an old-fashioned cup upset.

Manchester City 7-0 Rotherham

Manchester City cruised into the fourth round of the FA Cup by thrashing Championship Rotherham 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and a Semi Ajayi own goal put a strong City side into a comfortable half-time lead.

Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane completed the rout as the Millers were outclassed after the break.

England wonderkid Foden got on the score sheet for Man City

Millwall 2-1 Hull

Substitute Shane Ferguson’s brilliant late double earned Millwall a place in the FA Cup fourth round as they came from behind to record a 2-1 win over Hull at the Den.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, a much-changed Hull side had taken the lead shortly after half-time, when Jon Toral combined well with Nouha Dicko and finished tidily.

But Ferguson levelled the scores with nine minutes to go when he took a short corner, got the ball back and curled a sumptuous finish into the top corner.

His second, three minutes later, was even better, a free-kick floated past George Long and into the net.

It was harsh on the Hull keeper who, for 80 minutes, had been superb to keep out the home side, but was no match for Ferguson’s magic.

Preston 1-3 Doncaster

Two goals in the final 20 minutes saw Doncaster cause an FA Cup third round upset with a 3-1 win at Preston North End.

The League One side hit the front thanks to John Marquis’ fifth-minute header during an open first half.

They were pegged back by an Andrew Hughes header as the Championship outfit started the second period strongly.

But Tom Anderson scrambled the ball home with 18 minutes to go to put the visitors in control and Rovers sealed their place in the fourth round for the first time in nine seasons when Mallik Wilks slotted home in the 87th minute.

QPR 2-1 Leeds

Jake Bidwell’s second-half header handed QPR a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Leeds United and a rare place in the fourth round.

Bidwell headed home Luke Freeman’s left-wing corner with 15 minutes remaining to give the west London club their first third-round win without the need of a replay in 23 years.

Leeds had hit back after Aramide Oteh’s 23rd-minute penalty put Rangers ahead at Loftus Road.

Sheffield United 0-1 Barnet

Barnet produced one of the biggest shocks of the FA Cup third round as the non-league side knocked out Championship high-fliers Sheffield United with a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane.

Shaquile Coulthirst’s first-half penalty saw the Bees eliminate a side 83 places above them in the Football League pyramid.

It was a particularly special occasion for Barnet caretaker boss Darren Currie, whose uncle Tony has a stand named after him at Bramall Lane after a glittering eight-year spell with the Blades from 1968-76.

Coulthirst scored the goal that guided National League Barnet to a shock win

Woking 0-2 Watford

Watford captain Troy Deeney came off the substitutes’ bench to wrap up their FA Cup third-round win over non-league Woking.

The Premier League outfit made hard work of seeing off their hosts, Will Hughes giving them a first-half lead before Deeney was introduced late on to secure a 2-0 victory in Surrey.

Deeney rounded off Watford’s win after being introduced as a substitute

A massive 110 places separated the two clubs in the football pyramid as they took to the pitch at the Laithwaite Community Stadium – but National League South promotion hopefuls Woking gave a spirited performance.

Their manager Alan Dowson, joined in the dugout by coach and Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, said before the game that it was “ridiculous” to suggest his side could cause a shock.

In truth they never looked like pulling off a giant-killing but they also held their own at times as Watford laboured to build on their lead.

Javi Gracia changed his entire team from that which drew 3-3 at Bournemouth in their last Premier League game, with Deeney on the bench and midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure – linked with a move to Paris St Germain – not involved at all.

Martin Tyler: How long has Sky Sports commentator coached Woking and where else has he worked ahead of FA Cup tie against Watford?

6 Jan

Watford travel to non-league Woking in what is arguably the standout game of this year’s FA Cup third round – a game you can listen to live on talkSPORT, kick-off 2pm.

It’s a game the Premier League side are expected to win and win well but despite the 110 places in the league ladder between the two sides, you can never rule anything out in the FA Cup!

One person hoping for an almighty giant-killing is Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, who is actually employed by Woking FC.

What is Martin Tyler’s role at Woking?

Tyler became an unpaid coaching staff member following the appointment of Alan Dowson as Cardinals manager in May.

He has been a supporter of the club since watching his first Woking match as a child in 1953.

Where else has he coached?

Tyler has gone wherever Dowson has. He joined Walton and Hersham in 2005, and has also been at Kingstonian as well as Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Tyler was presented with the Premier League Commentator of the Decade award in 2003

Does his role at Woking clash with his Sky Sports commentary?

Whenever there is a scheduling clash with Woking matches, Tyler’s work on Sky Sports takes priority.

However, it is not an issue most of the time as he is only contracted to work for Sky on Sundays and during certain midweek games, and the majority of National League South fixtures are played on Saturdays.

Because Sky doesn’t show the FA Cup Tyler will be working for Woking in his coaching role against Watford.

Can Tyler and Woking cause one of the biggest FA Cup upsets of all time?

Woking vs Watford LIVE commentary stream and confirmed line-ups: Penaranda makes debut, Chalobah and Cleverley start

6 Jan

National League South side Woking host Premier League outfit Watford in the FA Cup third round on Sunday afternoon.

Woking are the lowest ranked side left in this season’s competition and have been rewarded with a glamour home tie at Kingfield Stadium.

Javi Gracia’s Watford take on Woking in the FA Cup this weekend

Watford, who have had a difficult few games as of late, will be eager to avoid any sort of trouble in Surrey but face a Woking side bang in form.

The Cardinals are flying high in their league and you can find out if they can upset the odds LIVE on talkSPORT.

Woking vs Watford – how to listen?

Full commentary of Woking vs Watford will be LIVE on talkSPORT, with our coverage beginning at 1:30pm.

Marc Saggers will bring you all the build up with Jim Proudfoot and Matt Holland on commentary duty.

Click below or here for the live commentary stream.

You can also listen through the talkSPORT App, on DAB Digital Radio or on MW 1053 or 1089.

For more information about how to listen LIVE on talkSPORT click here.

The FA Cup returns this weekend

Woking vs Watford – kick-off time

The FA Cup third round tie will get underway at 2pm.

Woking vs Watford confirmed line-ups