Watson Exclusive: Part Two
1995 FA Cup winning captain tells us what it's like to lift the FA Cup.
On Wednesday evertonfc.com brought you the first part of an exclusive interview with 1995 FA Cup winning captain Dave Watson.
He re-lived the weeks leading up to that year's final, the morning of the game and what Joe Royle said in the dressing room.
Today he tells us what it was like to be the man to lift the Cup, why he was overwhelmed to return to Merseyside and why he won't be surprised to see Phil Neville follow in his footsteps.
He also explains how the FA Cup trophy ended up at a drive-thru...
What was going through your mind as you climbed the steps to pick up the trophy?
The realistation that we'd done it. The fans were lining the stairs as we were going up and the atmosphere was fantastic. Obviously one or two Manchester United supporters had left by then, but the Everton fans were rocking and I couldn't get up there quick enough to be honest.
Can you remember what any of the dignitaries in the royal box said to you?
Not really, apart from the congratulations and well dones. There wasn't much time for a conversation - I just wanted to get my hands on the trophy!
Do you remember much about lifting it?
It was all over before I realised. I've watched it back since then and it seemed like a fair old hike up the stairs. But at the time it all seemed so quick.
That night must be tough to remember?
[Laughs] Yeah, we did have one or two sherries! We had a really good night. I only found out last week we had Bobby Davro on in the evening. I couldn't remember that, so it must've been a good night! We had all our family there, all our close friends and it was a fantastic night.
A story goes round that you slept with the FA Cup...
We did! My wife and I. I was last one up - as you've got to be being the captain of the football club - and the FA Cup was just left there. What do you do? We took it up to our room and slept right by it.
What are your memories of coming back to Liverpool?
It was great. We set off the next morning, everyone was the worse for wear and we actually stopped off at a Burger King! Can you imagine it? Taking the FA Cup into Burger King! I don't think that would happen these days. We eventually got back to Liverpool, jumped straight on the bus and the streets were lined. There were hundreds of thousands it seemed and it was a great trip round, it really was.
The Club was coming off the back of a barron spell in terms of silverware. There are similarities between now and 1995...
It's been a tough old time - 14 years since the last Cup win. But it's a lot more difficult now. There's so much money in the game and the big teams just seem to be getting bigger. Being realistic Everton's aim at the minute is to win the FA Cup or League Cup. We're not quite ready for the Champions League - not to win it anyway. So this is it and I hope the players and the fans go there and enjoy it.
They say your name can be on the Cup sometimes...
They do and Everton certainly haven't done it the easy way, have they? They've had tough draws all the way through and they deserve to be there on merit. Unlike us in 1995 - we got battered away at Bristol City and won 1-0, we had good draws, played at home - a lot of things went in our favour.
So can Everton win?
People say Chelsea are the favourites which, yeah, they are. But if Everton beat Chelsea I honestly don't think it will be a big shock. We've seen them play at Stamford Bridge not so long ago and give them a really tough game. At Wembley, with all the fans and players on the ball, I can certainly see us winning the game.
Who will be the key man for Everton?
You look at the defence with Phil Jagielka missing. Who comes in for him? It's a key position. Everton have players who can nick a goal - your Cahills, Osmans, Fellainis, Lescotts - so if we can keep it tight, who would bet against a 1-0?
As a defender yourself, you must sympathise with Jagielka?
I'm devastated for the lad. He's had a magnificent season and I'm sure it's his dream to play in the FA Cup final. He couldn't have done anything more or put in any more effort to help them get there. He'll be absolutely devastated but he's young enough to get another go at it.
How important a role will the fans play?
Everton fans are so passionate. Everyone says they have the best fans in the world but you judge your fans when you're having a bad time. Through the bad times we've had we've still had great gates home and away. They were fantastic in the semi-final and it will be absolutely heaving on Saturday. That'll be a massive boost to the players.
Our exclusive, three-part interview with Dave Watson is available to view on evertonTV now. To view, click here.