Fifteen years ago, Julian Joachim achieved every schoolboy’s dream when he played beneath the famous old towers of Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup final.
This weekend he will take the field at Welby Roadstriving to give Holwell Sports fans another FA Cup day to remember when they host higher league Bedworth United.
Poles apart the fixtures may be in football’s grand scheme, but the former Premier League star is fully aware of the importance of the tie to Holwell.
So far the cash-strapped club have netted almost £4,000 in prize money from negotiating the opening two rounds.
Victory on Saturday will earn the Asfordby Hill-based side another £3,000 and on top of another big gate, could set them up for the season.
It is the first home draw Holwell have been handed, but nine days ago Welby Road’s biggest crowd in recent seasons roared them to an upset win over Kirby Muxloe in a preliminary round replay.
Joachim told the Melton Times: “They have next to nothing in the bank and they are somehow surviving which isn’t easy, so financially it is massive. It shows what a good cup run can do for the club.
“It was good to see the lads buzzing after the Kirby game; it was a great result.
“At the end of the day we know we can’t win it, but the whole idea is to enjoy every game and enjoy the moment.”
A positive result would also mark Holwell’s best-ever run in the world’s biggest domestic knockout cup and propel them into the draw for the second qualifying round.
But standing between them and the prestige of a new benchmark are tough opponents who ply their trade two steps higher up the non-league ladder.
But Holwell have been given heart by Bedworth’s sticky start to the new season.
The Warwickshire club sit rock bottom of the Evo Stik Southern League Premier Division, winless and with just two points from eight games.
In contrast, Holwell have just one black mark on their books this season and sit just four points off the East Midlands Counties League summit.
Since that opening day reverse at Kimberley, Simon Daws’ side have built a morale-boosting seven-game unbeaten run.
Joachim added: “We all know we are going to be up against it on Saturday, but it’s the cup and anything can happen.
“They are a couple of leagues above us, but they haven’t got off to a good start so we will be going into the game with more confidence.
“We have just got to go out there with the right attitude, battle hard and compete, and hopefully we will get the right result.”
Joachim, who turns 41 later this month, has fond memories of the cup despite narrowly missing out on the ultimate prize.
His Aston Villa side were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea, but he has the none-too-shabby consolation of appearing in the last cup final at the old Wembley Stadium in 2000.
“As a kid growing up you always want to play at Wembley and one good thing is that I can say I have done it,” he said.
Holwell’s good form and home advantage are not the only prospects likely to set the alarm bells ringing in Bedworth minds.
Despite the former Leicester City star’s assertions to the contrary, the sight of Joachim in full flight remains a sobering proposition for opposing defences down the leagues.
“I’m a name from a few years ago now and can’t move as quickly as I did,” he said.
“I had no plans to play the season and had done no fitness, but I don’t feel too bad at all.
“The main thing is I still enjoy playing which keeps me fit and involved which is important.”
* Kick-off on Saturday is 3pm. Entry is £5 for adults and £3 concessions.