Former Hartlepool Utd’s Phil Turnbull’s unbelievable journey to Wembley

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PHIL Turnbull still remembers going to grounds where you went to the toilet in one room and it would flow into the showers next door.

He’s hoping Wembley’s changing rooms will be a bit better tomorrow.

Turnbull has just about seen it all at Gateshead in his 300-plus appearances for the club, climbing up the football pyramid to stand on the verge of the Football League again.

“It’s unbelievable the transformation this club has made,” he said. “We used to go to places like Prescott Cables, go to the toilet and it would come out in the shower. Now we’re going to Wembley! It’s like a different world.

“You’ve got to give 99 per cent credit to the chairman (Graham Wood) for investing his own money. The place wouldn’t be alive in slightest if he wasn’t here but then a lot of credit has to go to Ian Bogie as he got two promotions.

“He got the philosophy of playing football. The core of the team has been here since Boges and then Gary Mills has just taken it on to another level.

“I haven’t got enough praise for him. He’s like a psychological genius. He’ll be the first to say he doesn’t take sessions, Darren Caskey takes them and he puts on an unbelievable session.

“But then the gaffer comes in. He takes the pressure off you all the time. Before the Cambridge game (in the league, which Gateshead needed to draw) I thought there was going to be a massive speech and if he had said that, and made out how important it was, I think people would have gone out there cacking their pants but he just came in and chilled it all out.

“He tells the players they are class when they need to be told they’re class, He doesn’t hammer you he just has a constructive word, and he’s all about togetherness.

“Some people might think it’s unprofessional but daft things like when we stop on a Friday before away games, he was brought up in a pub in a little village and we stop there and have a pint.

“It’s little things like that which are genius for me.

“He gives you that much confidence, no fear of failing. You can go out and just express yourself.”