1996 Wembley final

Argyle Podcast: Wembley Special - The Highlights

Sync Fixtures

As Argyle and the Green Army prepare to descend on Wembley for only the third time in the club’s history, the Argyle Podcast took the opportunity to speak to some of the people who have experienced the national stadium first hand while representing the club.

In 1996, Neil Warnock’s Pilgrims, captained by Mick Heathcote, won 1-0 against Darlington in the Division Three play-off final thanks to Ronnie Mauge’s historic goal.

Twenty years later, the starting 11 featured Gary Sawyer as the Greens lost 2-0 to Wimbledon, this time failing to be promoted to the third tier. On that occasion, Jordan Houghton was an unused substitute, but the midfielder is hoping to better that on Sunday, against Bolton.

You can listen to the latest episode of the Argyle Podcast here, as all the names above speak about their experiences at Wembley.

Here are some of the highlights:

Neil Warnock

“When you are a young manager, you are ambitious, and one of my ambitions was to get a team on the pitch at Wembley. It's the pinnacle of your career to do that.

“The most satisfaction I got from the game was that we won the game because of a corner kick that we practiced. To me as a manager, it couldn't be any better than that. Ronnie Mauge came in for the cross from a short corner.

“It was a fabulous day. To see 30-odd thousand there. On the motorway going back home, people were stood up in sunroofs with green and white scarves. Then we had an open-top bus ride. It was brilliant.

“Wherever I've gone, I've always tried to go back to Plymouth and Cornwall for pre-season, to thank them for having me and giving me one of the best days of my life.”

Ronnie Mauge

Ronnie Mauge

“I was fortunate enough to be the one to put the cherry on the top of an eventful season, and I'm really grateful for that. Not in my wildest dreams did I really believe that I was going to be etched in the history books of Plymouth Argyle.

“Whenever watch the game, I fast forward to the goal, and then I fast forward to the end of the match. I like to watch the green and white scarves, the fans singing ‘Simply the Best’ and ‘Rocking All Over the World’.

“I went there once as a player. I went there another time as a supporter. Now I'm going as ambassador. It just makes me so proud. I know that the fans will do the team justice, just like the team has done the fans justice all season. I'm very confident that we're going to come out and win.”

Mick Heathcote

Mick Heathcote

“Before you know it, you're on that coach, and you're heading for those twin towers. It was only a short coach ride away, but supporters in green and white seemed to be everywhere leading up to leading up to the stadium. It was just a magnificent sight.

“We got in there, and it was in the dressing rooms when it began to register with you that this is what it's all about.

“At our level, playing at Wembley rarely happens. It was a game that will stick with us forever.

“The number one message I would pass on is that if you can't enjoy playing at Wembley, you can't enjoy playing anywhere.”

Gary Sawyer

Gary Sawyer

“You want to play at Wembley in an England shirt, but if you can't do it for England, then you want to do it for the club where you come through, where you've spent a lot of your career.

“A lot of your friends are supporters of it. Your family supports it. You've travelled for years, like I had, for years and years on mini-buses. You want to walk out with that badge on your chest.

“If you hold the club close to your heart, like I do, that is a proud moment.

“But I've never watched the game back. I had it on record, because it was on TV, but I deleted it soon as I got in.”

Jordan Houghton

Jordan Houghton

We're going there to win. It's not just a day out. It’s obviously nice for the fans to go, but you are playing at the biggest arena for an English player, the home of football, against a really good side that are going to play good football. 

“It's a big game. Everyone knows that. We're looking at the ticket sales and it's brilliant to see so many of our fans will be coming up to Wembley – which we knew they would. 

“I’m really looking forward to it and to be backed by 38,000 Argyle fans is going to be something special.”

Neil Warnock