Day 2 of the London weekend saw me returning to Wembley for the double header FA Vase and FA Trophy finals.
A 12.15 kick-off still gave me a couple of hours spare to wander round Finsbury and Islington in the sunshine, gathering more photos of coal hole covers and plaques for the collection. There was quite a different feel to London early on a Sunday morning, it felt quite human scaled.
Then it was back out to the stadium, with the previous day's experience making me an old hand. While I'd been way up in the fifth tier for the Bradford game, for these matches I was just twenty or so rows from the pitch, seated in the Cleethorpes Town quadrant.
The FA Vase final was first up, featuring much fancied South Shields, champions of the Northern League against Cleethorpes Town, champions of the Northern Counties East league (both level nine of the pyramid). 13,000 Shields fans had traveled down and created a great atmosphere, with the more modest numbers of Clee Town followers making their own contribution. Shields ran out 4-0 winners, and the image for the day is one of those iconic Wembley moments - lifting the cup in front of the royal box.
After a couple of hours intermission, the one down side being there was no pass out of the stadium, the second match got underway, the final of the FA Trophy. This saw two National League teams face each other, Macclesfield Town and York City, although York were relegated on the last day of the season (as I reported at the time from Guiseley, the team that stayed up). I'd seen both teams play at Guiseley this season, Macc seemed quite a good footballing side and York actually finished the season fairly strongly, so it promised to be a fairly even tie. It was 2-2 at half-time and while the Silkmen dominated much of the play in the second half, it was the Minstermen who came up with a late winner and ensured they returned to York with something to show of the season.
I expect this marks the end of the 16/17 football season for me, which started back at Bradford Park Avenue on July 16th. I make it 49 games in all. The 17/18 friendlies will be getting underway in about six weeks, so I guess that gives me a little while to focus on the butterflies.