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Bartlett: Southall can follows in Wealdstone's footsteps

Manager still remembers famous run to 1986 FA Vase final fondly

Stones boss: Gordon Bartlett(Image: Steve Foster/Wealdstone FC)

Former Southall boss Gordon Bartlett believes the club can take inspiration from the way his current side, Wealdstone, came back from the abyss to recapture their glory days.

Bartlett was in the Southall hot seat when they had their finest hour, reaching the 1986 FA Vase final, which they lost 3-0 to Halesowen Town at Wembley.

Southall are this season celebrating the 30 anniversary of that run, and started in style by knocking Bedfont & Feltham out of this season's FA Vase 2-1 on Saturday.

Bartlett spent just one season at Southall before moving onto Hounslow, Yeading and finally Wealdstone, where he has been for the past two decades.

The Stones are celebrating their own anniversary this week, with an event to mark their historic non-league double of the Conference title and FA Trophy.

When Bartlett pitched up at the Stones in the 1990s, financial hardships had seen them relegated to an all-time low of Ryman League Division Three.

But while not quite hitting the heights of 1985 yet, Bartlett has slowly rebuilt the club and got them back to within one step of non-league's top tier.

Southall, meanwhile, have plunged even lower, all the way down to Division One of the Spartan South Midlands League, but are starting to show their own shoots of revival.

He said: “Southall were a big club once, and to see what they have gone through is saddening, but at the same time, it's great to see they are still going. They need to rekindle and build the club back up, and can perhaps take inspiration from what we have done at Wealdstone.

“I still get a tingle when people talk about the FA Vase final. It was my first season in management, and to walk out at Wembley was a special moment, but you only really remember the ones you win.

“I remember going onto the Halesowen team coach afterwards and saying I was coming back to win it, which I did, but with Yeading.

“People go on about Les Fedinand being in our team that day but we had other great players too, like Mick McGovern, Stuart McKenzie, Brucie Rowe, Keith James, Paul Swales and Steve Crowe – the whole team in fact.”

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