Two former U’s heroes set to do battle for place in the Football League

It’s been an incredible end to the season for Des Buckingham’s side and anything could happen against the Posh. They are the best side I saw in League One this season, and also the worst.

Their performances in the home and away league games were worlds apart and the U’s have an outstanding chance of a Wembley final.

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But I wanted to mention another, more imminent Wembley final which has interest for U’s fans. On Sunday, Solihull Moors take on Bromley under the arch, with a place in the EFL at stake. The first time either would reach those dizzying heights.

Solihull are owned by former U’s chairman Darryl Eales and he has transformed the club with a thriving community department, a 3G pitch alongside the ever improving stadium and in Andy Whing, he has appointed a wonderful human being who has become a fantastic football manager.

As a player, Whingy was loved wherever he played. He scored Coventry’s last ever goal at Highfield Road, moved on to Brighton, and then when he joined Oxford, the fans would sing ‘All we need is a team of Andy Whings’.

That team would have struggled as he only scored six goals in his entire career, although it would have been entertaining. Three of them won goal of the season.

Oxford Mail: Former Oxford United right back Andy WhingFormer Oxford United right back Andy Whing (Image: James Williamson)

A couple of years ago, he was working in a warehouse while taking Banbury United to promotion. He became even merrier at the Moors, and as well as the play-off final, he has the FA Trophy final, also at Wembley, to look forward to the following Saturday.

If he is to take Solihull up, then he is going to have to get the better of another great character. Bromley are managed by former Oxford goalkeeper Andy Woodman. ‘Woody’ by his own admission, wasn’t the greatest goalkeeper in the world. He’s not even the best goalkeeper in his own garden. Son Freddie has surpassed him.

Oxford Mail: Bromley boss Andy WoodmanBromley boss Andy Woodman (Image: George Tewkesbury/ PA Wire)

But when he wasn’t standing on his line and ordering Andy Crosby to head the ball away, Woody was always good value. He wrote a book with his best mate Gareth Southgate (‘Woody and Nord’ available in all good charity shops), and he needed 48 stitches in his head when he bravely dived at the feet of one of his own defenders, believing it was a Shrewsbury player trying to score past him.

The player who kicked him was Dave Waterman. When Dave’s son Oakley became ill, his last request was a caravan by the sea, so other children could spend time with their families. Woody, along with Andy Scott, organised a golf day that raised thousands for the cause.

Not a dry eye in the house when that happened, and on Sunday there will be tears again. Either Whingy or Woody will shed tears of joy, the other will be inconsolable. They love the game. They live the game. To even get their clubs to this stage is unbelievable. Two great men. On Sunday, one of them becomes a local legend.

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