Jack Emmett ready to seize unexpected Wembley moment with Harrogate Town

Jack Emmett never, ever expected to have the opportunity to walk out at Wembley Stadium with his hometown club – or with anyone else, for that matter.

WEMBLEY DREAM: Harrogate Town's Jack Emmett (left) and Boreham Wood's Femi Ilesanmi battle for the ball during the Vanarama National League play-off semi final match at CNG Stadium, Harrogate. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Yet, on Sunday afternoon, he and his Harrogate Town team-mates will take on Notts County at the home of football in the National League play-off final.

At stake is a place in League Two for 2020/21, an achievement that would represent another huge step forward for the upwardly-mobile North Yorkshire outfit.

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Emmett played a starring role as Harrogate were promoted out of National League North in 2017/18 and has continued to feature fairly regularly during two seasons spent challenging at the top end of the fifth tier, though the 26-year-old still can’t quite believe that he finds himself just one more victory away from the Football League.

Jack Emmett in action for Harrogate Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham.

“To be honest, this is crazy,” he said.

“Over the past few years the club has gone from strength-to-strength and we have passed lots of milestones, but going to Wembley to play for a place in League Two is next level.

“I never thought this would happen to me. I have played alongside lads who have appeared at Wembley, but I’ve never thought to myself ‘one day I’ll get there’.

“I’ve always just kind of felt like it was a place reserved for higher level teams and players, but now we are going there. It’s amazing.”

That Emmett seems so blown away by the prospect of a trip to Wembley is understandable when you consider that his route into professional football was not exactly conventional.

Born and raised in Harrogate, the former Harrogate Grammar School pupil had trials at Leeds United and Doncaster as a child but was rejected on the basis that he wasn’t big enough.

He progressed from Town’s under-19s and into their first team in 2011, then, having completed his A-Levels he accepted a place at Loughborough University to study accountancy and spent two years playing the game alongside his fellow students.

The versatile midfielder ended up re-joining Harrogate in the summer of 2014 and has not looked back since, turning his back on the career in accountancy he was seemingly destined for before eventually signing a professional contract at the CNG Stadium in 2017.

“After the initial knock-back, I didn’t envisage becoming a professional footballer, but I’m very glad about how it has worked out,” Emmett added.

“Now, I just can’t wait to walk down that Wembley tunnel and out onto that pitch.”

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