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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Henry aiming for Wembley history
By Pete Oliver

Ronnie Henry
Henry is hoping to make Wembley history this weekend
Three years after the disappointment of being released by Tottenham, Ronnie Henry could become the first player to lift a cup at the new Wembley.

Henry leads Stevenage's attempt to win the FA Trophy for the first time when they meet Kidderminster on Saturday.

And the 23-year-old defender sees the chance as compensation for seeing his White Hart Lane dream dashed.

"Being captain at Wembley and hopefully lifting the Trophy, I would have taken that at the time," he told BBC Sport.

"When you get released from a club like Tottenham it is in the back of your mind 'how will you bounce back?'

"It's a very big blow but I have found life after Spurs very enjoyable. It's been a challenge for me to try and get back to that level, because I know I can do it and I'm at a good place because Stevenage should be a League club.

"Being a captain so young I can only go on from here and my ambition is to play in the League."

Henry progressed through the youth system at Spurs before spending two years as a professional under Glenn Hoddle's management.

He made the first-team squad but was behind Ledley King, Dean Richards and Anthony Gardner in the pecking order for a starting slot.

And when Hoddle left there was to be no new contract for the young hopeful.

Apart from three games on loan at Southend, Henry had played no League football and he had to drop down as far as the Conference to earn a second chance at Stevenage.

He said: "I grew up as a youngster at Spurs and there is nowhere better to grow up than there because you are taught all the right things, which helps when you go to a lower club.

"I did find it a little bit difficult trying to transfer it into the Conference, which is more about being physical and winning the battle with your opponents before you can play.

But I always like to play football and that's the way Mark (Stimson) wants us to do it."

Henry's adaptation to life in the Conference since arriving at Broadhall Way in January 2005 has earned him England caps at National Game (non-league) level.

If we play as we can and pass the ball as we can I am sure the lads will come through with victory

Ronnie Henry

He played in the play-off final against Carlisle United at the end of his first season and promotion will be Stevenage's number-one target next year after they finished eighth this time around.

"Having a new boss coming in there were always going to be changes with a lot of new players," Henry added.

"We just missed out on the play-offs but I think the squad is coming together and the manager knows what he wants for next season when we will make a really good push.

"But playing at Wembley means we will class it as a pretty good season, even if it didn't go quite as well as we all wanted."

The return to Wembley after a seven-year break for the Trophy final, which has been played in recent years at Villa Park, has given the competition a massive boost in profile.

The timing of the game makes if the first final to be played at the stadium since its 850m re-development.

And after a preview last week as part of the Stevenage party invited to Wembley for press and promotional activities, Henry is excited about the prospect of being among the first to play there.

"With how much it has cost it should be good but I don't think you realise how good it is until you visit the place," he said.

"Everything about it is amazing, the stadium, the pitch, the dressing rooms.

"I am privileged to have been there and I have been telling the lads what it's like, giving them some information and I took a few photos to show them.

"Everyone is looking forward to it and a lot of people want to impress and do well."

Neutral interest in the final has never been greater and with Stevenage selling 26,000 tickets and Kidderminster close to that number, the crowd could be close the maximum permitted 80,000.

For the teams, though, it cannot be just about a memorable day out.

"It could overtake what we are actually going there for. It is the new Wembley with all the hype and this is the first major final to be played there.

"We have got to get into our minds that it is another game, a final, and we have got to do our jobs, win the game and then afterwards think about all the other things," Henry added.

Experience could be key and Stevenage's collection of former League players is headed by former England international and twice Trophy winner Steve Guppy.

Boss Mark Stimson has won it three times as a player and manager, guiding Grays Athletic to victory in each of the past two seasons.

A hat-trick would be unprecedented but Henry believes it could be on the cards.

He said: "I think whoever handles the occasion will come out the winners. Mark knows what it's all about. He has won it before and this could be a third time.

"We have prepared very well and the lads are confident. If we play as we can and pass the ball as we can I am sure the lads will come through with victory."



SEE ALSO
No day out for Kiddie
10 May 07 |  Kidderminster Harriers
FA Trophy semi-final second legs
17 Mar 07 |  Non League
Stimson signs extended Boro deal
26 Mar 07 |  Stevenage
Stevenage focus on play-off spot
19 Mar 07 |  Stevenage


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