Sally Gunnell knows all about the big occasion. When she stood on the start line for the 400 metres hurdles final in Barcelona in 1992, the Essex girl was less than a minute away from the biggest moment of her life.
It is etched in history now, Gunnell’s epic run to triumph on that glorious summer’s afternoon almost 25 years ago.
On Monday night, goalkeeper Ross Worner will face his own Olympic final in the biggest game of his footballing career – against the club he has supported since he was a schoolboy, when little Sutton take on Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
It is a fixture that boggles the mind. Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and his multi-million pound squad, a club that have won the trophy 12 times, the last time as recently as 2015, arriving in the tree-lined streets of suburban, commuter-belt Surrey.
And Gunnell’s part in the story just adds to the romance.
By night, Worner is the goalkeeper who will be trying to stop the might of Wenger’s attacking force. But he is only part-time, because by day he owns a framing shop in Surrey.
Sutton goalkeeper Ross Worner has been Arsenal fan since he was a kid
Olympic gold medalist Sally Gunnell knows what it takes to perform on the big stage
A chance client in this FA Cup week was Gunnell, 50, to have her shoes, vest and number from that famous day in 1992 framed for posterity.
Now a television presenter and motivational speaker, she had no idea that Worner had other things on his mind this week.
Gunnell said: “I didn’t know anything about it! I didn’t even know that Ross played for Sutton, or that he was their goalkeeper.
“I knew a couple of smaller clubs had done well in the Cup this year because we are all football fans in our family but I didn’t realise it was him. It’s fantastic.
“There will never be another highlight like this for them.
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“This is all my gear from 1992. I have never ever put anything up on the wall, so I decided it was time. There are trophies in the toilet, that’s all. The medal is not going in – that still gets handed around so I need that.
Inside Arsenal's changing room for away clash at Sutton United
Mon, January 30, 2017
Arsenal face a trip to non-league side Sutton United for their fifth round FA Cup clash and this is the changing room they'll use…
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“I’m a West Ham fan normally but I am a Sutton fan this week, no doubt about it.”
Worner’s business is in its early stages but the 28-year-old former Charlton, Aldershot and AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper is looking for it to provide a future after football.
The publicity from this Cup run, which has seen National League Sutton see off the Football league teams already in Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds, has come in handy.
But right now, unbelievably, at this stage in his career, the biggest game of all lies ahead.
Worner, whose all-time hero is former Gunners goalkeeping legend David Seaman, said: “I have been an Arsenal fan since 1996. I watched Seaman save two penalties in Euro96 and that was it for me.
“This is the best draw we could have got. Seeing Arsene Wenger walk out and stand by the dugout at our place will be a sight to remember.
Sutton United beat AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup fourth round
“Seaman is my biggest heroes – though I didn’t model myself on him. I was more of a ‘throw-myself-about’ kind of keeper. I am a lot shorter, so I have had to be very agile.
“He was steady, not flash – that’s what I liked about him.”
As a Gunners supporter, Worner is also a massive fan of Wenger.
The Frenchman is under major pressure going into the game with Arsenal’s title campaign crumbling. A slip up, to a non-League club in the FA Cup, would be unthinkable for the Frenchman. And if the unthinkable actually happened, it could bring the end that bit closer.
Worner believes Arsenal fans should be grateful for what Wenger has done for the club in his 21 years in charge.
He said: “Yes he is under pressure. But as an Arsenal fan he is the best. Yes, fans are starting to turn but the players he has there are some of the best in the world. He has done a good job. People have short memories.
“We have beaten three league sides to get this far, so our confidence is high. But this will be different. They cannot afford to lose to us. Everything will depend on the strength of the team he puts out. But their reserves can beat most Premier League teams.
“If Alexis Sanchez is facing me, I’ll be hoping my defenders have their running boots on!”
Just like Gunnell, in fact, all those years ago.