Trophy bitter at the Carlsberg

THE FA TROPHY doesn’t have the cachet of the FA Cup, but it still represents a mid-season distraction for non-league clubs at step three and beyond. Biggleswade Town v Hitchin Town also had the added spice of a local derby, so it seemed a reasonably attractive tie for a dull, drizzly afternoon by the A1(M). Hitchin were still basking in the glow of rubbing shoulders with Premier League opposition in the form of Arsenal’s under-21 team, a game that attracted a 1,200 crowd and promises to provide some valuable charity for Bob Wilson’s Willow Foundation. Biggleswade Town, who were trying … Continue reading Trophy bitter at the Carlsberg

Underdog day afternoon

THE THICK-THIGHED, bearded man sat on the train from Wembley Stadium, Morpeth colours draped around his ample torso. He was grinning, for his team had pulled off a shock in winning the FA Vase. He struggled to keep awake for the short journey back to Marylebone, a day on the ale getting the better of him. He had a long journey home to Northumberland and he had probably not downed his last pint of beer. You sensed there was a lot of celebrating still left to suffer. And celebrate he might, for Non-League Finals Day – which he had undoubtedly … Continue reading Underdog day afternoon

Why Wembley 2016 could be a litmus test

IT’S good news that tickets for the non-league finals day are going pretty well, mostly driven by the enthusiasm of Hereford’s fans. According to press reports, 15,000 tickets have been sold by the phoenix club, which will hopefully ensure a healthy turn out on May 22. The move to combine the two finals on the same day was long overdue. If the FA hadn’t done so, the pragmatists would argue that holding the FA Vase and FA Trophy at the national stadium was pure folly. Last season, the Vase was watched by 9,674 people, whereas the Trophy was 15,585. Between … Continue reading Why Wembley 2016 could be a litmus test