STEVE Chettle tried to cheer his young Barnsley team-mates up after the Wembley loss by saying it would serve them well in the future.
The defender, who had played more than 400 games in a 14-year spell at Nottingham Forest, had won the League Cup twice at the old Wembley and also played in the 1991 FA Cup final loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
He was one of the most experienced players in a side that included youngsters such as Chris Morgan and Keith Brown.
Chettle said: “After the game, we were all devastated.
“But I said to Chris Morgan and the other lads: ‘you have to remember these occasions and why you feel like you do now. You will have good times but just remember this and learn from it.’
“A lot of those players went on to do some really good things in football.”
Chettle played 15 games for Forest at the start of that season, including in a 1-0 loss on October 30 at Oakwell where he moved to two weeks later to reunite with former manager Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett.
He said: “I was told in November that I wasn’t in David Platt’s plans.
“I contacted Harry and asked him if he would take me to Barnsley.
“He signed me on loan at first and I scored an overhead kick on my home debut against Charlton in the second minute which, for someone of my limited technical ability, it definitely sticks in the mind.
“I went from playing with the Forest reserves to playing at Wembley which was bizarre.
“It was a big day for me. I had been fortunate to play in cup finals for Forest but any game at Wembley is fantastic.
“There were a lot of my friends and family there and they still remember it very, very fondly despite the result.”
Chettle – now the manager of non-league Basford United – played 105 games for the Reds before leaving in 2002.
He said: “It was the last time that I played at a club for more than a season. My kids were a bit older by then and they remember Barnsley fondly.
“They would sit in the stands, watching me play and mingling with the fans.
“I loved it up there.
“I liked the guys who would come to watch us train at the top of the hill come rain or shine and let you know how they felt about your performance.”