SKIPPER Tom Melledew can still hardly believe he will be leading Thatcham Town out at Wembley on Sunday when the Kingfishers take on Stockton in the FA Vase final (12.15pm), writes Dave Wright.

“It will be a very proud moment,” he said.

“Since the semi final, I have been keep saying to myself ‘I am going to lead a team out at Wembley’ – it probably won’t sink in until we get there.

“For Thatcham to be playing at Wembley is unbelievable. It is a club I have always played for, I have spent most of my career here.”

Melledew, who lives in Tilehurst, has already helped his side win the Hellenic League title and now they have their sights on a double.

“If you asked me that at the start of the season, I would have said it was just a dream and wouldn’t happen.

“We’ve won the league and we’re in with a chance of winning the Vase as well, it is hard to believe.

“From the beginning of this (Vase) competition, I have always said we fancy our chances against any team at our level.

“We’re going to Wembley confident we can win.”

It’s been an incredible season for the Kingfishers, lifting the Hellenic title to secure promotion to the Southern League and reaching two Hellenic cup finals following a sensational unbeaten run of 40 games.

“That was unbelievable. I have never experienced that in my career and it probably won’t happen again,” he added.

“Just going 10 games unbeaten is a great achievement, so to do 40 is unbelievable.”

Melledew’s leadership skills come from his father, Steve, who played for a number of Football League clubs and even spent time in America where Eusebio was among his team-mates and on one occasion he played against Pele.

Theale-born Tom added: “As a lad, it was football, football, football. It didn’t matter what day of the week it was, we would be watching games like Scunthorpe versus Tranmere or Lincoln versus Aldershot.

“All that I have done in football has come through my dad.”

Melledew Snr went on to manage Thatcham, and Tom went along to watch their matches as a lad.

So it is easy to see why the midfielder is so keen to win the Vase for the Kingfishers.

During the week the father of two and step-dad of one runs a roofing company with team-mate Gareth Thomas, while leading scorer Shane Cooper-Clark is the third roofer in the Thatcham squad.

Whitley resident Cooper-Clark is hoping a winner’s medal will put the icing on a remarkable season which has seen him score 61 goals for the west Berkshire side.

“Obviously I would love to score at Wembley, but I won’t mind if I don’t providing we win,” said the hot-shot who believes his previous best was 58 when he was an 11-year-old playing for South Reading boys.

“I think I might even cry if I score on Sunday, especially if it is the winner.

“I am definitely getting very excited about the game. I’ve never been to Wembley before and so to be playing there is absolutely amazing.”

Thatcham, who usually play in front of fewer than 100 fans at Waterside Park, will have close to 4,000 cheering them on against Stockton, who finished eighth in the Northern League.

That competition was won by Marske, the team they defeated in the Vase semi-finals.