Wigan Warriors: Martin Offiah states people had written him off prior to his famous Wembley try
Martin Offiah says his iconic try at Wembley in the 1994 Challenge Cup final will forever be the moment he is remembered for.
The retired Great Britain winger will be discussing his career and answering fan questions at an event on March 30 at the Old Courts.
Offiah, who is now part of a statue outside the national stadium, says a lot of people had written him off ahead of the game against Leeds, making the occasion even sweeter.
He said: “My best moment has to be the Wembley try. It’s one that’s picked for you and I’m sure that when I’m not on this planet anymore, I’ll always be remembered for it because it’s the thing that connects me to the wider sporting public.
“When there’s a monument of me in that pose, it will be in my memory forever, and it’s my lasting legacy.
“On the morning of that game there was a story in the Daily Mirror where Alex Murphy, who is ironically on the statue with me, said I was finished and the best of a bad bunch.
“Even though everyone said I had justified the price tag, I hadn’t personally achieved what I wanted. I’d had a shoulder injury in 1993, and was having some trials and tribulations, where people had started to say ‘what a waste of money’ again.
“It was a low point, but a conversation with Shaun Edwards put me back on track and I went back to what got me where I was. Things picked up again and it culminated with me scoring that try.
“Alex Murphy was feeding off the sentiment of that time, and it was a lot to take into such a big game. In life you’ve got to back yourself, even when everyone around you is saying you are finished.
“I didn’t want to talk about it pre-match, because talking is cheap and means nothing, there was only way I could answer, and that was through my performance. People see the tries, but they don’t know what you’ve been through.
“Even now I think it’s the stuff you write a movie about. Colin Welland who wrote the screenplay to Chariots of Fire was there that day, and he went on to write the foreword for my autobiography. I inspired him so much, and he’d won an Oscar.
“When you see a sportsman celebrating there is always a backstory to it. They see what’s on the pitch, but don’t see where that player has come from. I can’t describe the emotions you feel when you reach the top."
Offiah says despite the game finishing 26-16, it was a far from easy afternoon for Wigan, and that he still had a personal point to prove to himself.
“Leeds were all over us in that game, they had some fantastic players,” he added.
“I was up against a guy who had played for England in rugby union, and I hadn’t done that, I always had that chip on my shoulder.
“I was just this kid from Hackney, who was just going out there believing in himself. When you think of all those great Lions who came across from union, none of them achieved what I did or created those moments. It makes you think, that’s what I was put on this planet to do.
"That moment will be up there forever in that Wembley statue and when people see that then they’ll know what I am trying to express.
“It’s something I will remember as long as I live, and I hope I can connect with other people from that day.