Emmerson Boyce is changing the face of FA Cup history after he led Wigan Athletic to a first ever final with victory over Millwall on Saturday.
The former Quarrendon School pupil captained Roberto Martinez’s Premier League side to a 2-0 win over the Lions at Wembley in a game marred by crowd violence.
It sets up Boyce and Wigan’s first ever FA Cup final – they have never won a trophy in their relatively short 35-year Football League history – where they will be huge underdogs against Manchester City.
And Boyce will have his own personal spot in the history books, not only for being the first Wigan captain to lead a side out in an FA Cup final but also the first ever Barbadian to play in the showpiece match of the world’s oldest cup competition.
And amazingly, the semi-final win also sees Wigan, the top flight’s smallest club, almost guaranteed a place in next season’s Europa League – the reward usually reserved for FA Cup winners – by virtue of the fact City will already have qualified for European competition.
Venturing into Europe will be another first for record appearance holder Boyce and Wigan.
The Barbados skipper, who was cheered on by a coachload of family, friends and supporters from Aylesbury at Saturday’s semi-final, is delighted with how things have worked out for him, describing it as a ‘dream come true’.
“Wigan in the FA Cup final, now that sounds good,” he said after the game.
“It’s amazing. This is a dream come true for the club and the fans.
“I can’t wait for the final!”
That final, which takes place on Saturday May 11, could not be pitting two more contrasting sides together for a David and Goliath clash.
Boyce’s perennial relegation battlers are far from safe in the Premier League after a slender 1-0 defeat to mega-rich reigning champions Manchester City in what was a dress rehearsal of the cup final on Wednesday night.
But, before Boyce can dream of climbing those famous steps to lift the cup, he must first find a way to shackle the dazzling array of talent at City’s disposal such as Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Yaya Toure.
But just getting there in the first place is the real achievement. It is all a far cry from the defender-cum-winger’s days at Bedgrove Dynamos and playing with his brothers and friends down at Elmhurst’s Alfred Rose Park.
One thing is for certain, the popular 33 year old will never have so many requests for tickets, particularly from Aylesbury, for the rest of his career.