When history weighs you down – a visit to Ilford

THEY HAVE a big honours board in the Ilford Football Club committee room. “It stops all of a sudden,” said one official after I had acknowledged the “wonderful history” the board portrayed – twice winners of the FA Amateur Cup and three times Isthmian League champions. The current Ilford club’s major achievement was finishing 17th in the Isthmian League Division One North in 2009. They … Continue reading When history weighs you down – a visit to Ilford

FA Vase day: Double winners Glossop aim for the treble

Glossop North End can seal their place in history if they win the FA Vase at Wembley this afternoon. They are already Northern West Counties League champions and League Cup winners, and a Vase victory would undoubtedly make them one of non-league football’s teams of the year. Glossop Chairman Dave Atkinson told the Buxton Advertiser this week that the Vase would be “the icing on … Continue reading FA Vase day: Double winners Glossop aim for the treble

FA Vase day: North Shields can lift the “fog” on the Tyne

Those old enough to remember will know that North Shields have been to Wembley before. In 1969, the club won the FA Amateur Cup, beating Sutton United 2-1. North Shields, which sits on the north bank of the River Tyne, turned out in force to see their heroes bring the famous old cup home. There’s cup fever in the town of 40,000 that is just … Continue reading FA Vase day: North Shields can lift the “fog” on the Tyne

Glossop need to ease their congestion before Wembley

Glossop North End v North Shields is this season’s FA Vase final (May 9, Wembley). It’s North v Far North. Glossop North End are trying to make it a cup and league double, indeed some form of treble. They are second in the North West Counties League, eight points behind Runcorn Linnets, but with five games in hand. But fixture congestion could well be their … Continue reading Glossop need to ease their congestion before Wembley

Where did Tadcaster Albion come from?

As you approach York from the A1 and journey across via the A64, you pass an ornate-looking brewery at Tadcaster. It’s a classic Yorkshire name, Tadcaster, and the brewery is better known as John Smith’s. They’ve got a football club and it started life as the brewery team, but since 1923, it’s been known as Tadcaster Albion. If all goes well, they will be raising … Continue reading Where did Tadcaster Albion come from?

Calling in on….Arundel, keepers of the castle

They play the game of Merrie Olde England very well in Arundel. It’s a town that reflects former Prime Minister John Major’s misty-eyed vision of a nation of village green cricket, warm beer and the Home Service. But, as well as having a magnificent castle, a scenic cricket ground and tea shops aplenty (Belinda’s Tea Rooms, Tarrant St. does a mean afternoon tea, apparently) it … Continue reading Calling in on….Arundel, keepers of the castle

East Anglians at play on Non-League Day

You know you’re heading east when you look out of the train window and the fields are peat dirty black and the landscape as flat as the pre-Columbus world. East Anglia is one of Britain’s larders and the harvest has already been bagged – on the menu is the FA Vase first qualifying round tie between Thetford Town and Ely City. It’s a local derby, … Continue reading East Anglians at play on Non-League Day

FA Vase final: Sholing spoil West’s march to the arch

Half-past two on a blustery and rainy afternoon in Wembley. The famous Wembley Way is near deserted and the small number of vendors are struggling to retain their enthusiasm for FA Vase final day. “Get your souvenir scarf, only a fiver,” pleaded one desperate stallholder. He was not going to get rich today. Ironically, my journey into London had started by bumping into someone who … Continue reading FA Vase final: Sholing spoil West’s march to the arch

West Auckland – Time is right to add the Vase to the World Cup

In the old days, when regional stereotyping was a popular [and acceptable] game, journalists and commentators  – anticipating a North v South FA Vase final –  would predict  that “Wembley will be awash with Newcastle Brown Ale on Saturday and Geordie tones would echo around the corridors of the old stadium”. Why? Because West Auckland (32 miles from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) are in town to play Sholing. … Continue reading West Auckland – Time is right to add the Vase to the World Cup

So, who the hell are Sholing?

The FA Vase always throws up an unknown team or two and this season has been no exception to that rule. Sholing FC have reached the Wembley final and will meet a more well-known team in the form of West Auckland Town. It’s North v South, a classic combination for a cup final. But who exactly are Sholing? You might be more familiar with their … Continue reading So, who the hell are Sholing?

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells is going to Wembley

Wasn’t it Kenny Everitt who coined the phrase “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”, a parody of the outraged middle-class resident from a well-heeled south-of-England town? Football and Tunbridge Wells don’t exactly go together – golf, cricket, a bit of rugger and maybe lacrosse would be more suitable. But surely not football – you can almost hear cries of “disgraceful” coming from the “ladies that lunch” and … Continue reading Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells is going to Wembley

World Cup Winners head for Wembley

Does anyone remember a TV drama in the 1980s that told the tale of a little team from the North of England winning the so-called “World Cup” at the back end of Edwardian England? Well, the club that achieved that honour, lifting the Thomas Lipton Cup  – he of the ubiquitious tea brand that you find in continental Europe but nowhere else – is bound … Continue reading World Cup Winners head for Wembley