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ISSUE 16 - R.R.P. £3.00

E U G A E L NONY A D S FINAL

NATIONAL

LEAGUE


Editorial & Design

enter tHe Sphere.

Senior Editor Phil Brennan

Art Director Nick Williams

Chief Football Writer James Burch

Designer Simon Jakes

Our contributors: Articles James Burch Lewis Richards Steve Whitney Photography Cleethorpes Town Website Dan McNicol 484 dazzling blue/safety yellow/saftey yellow

David Tinkler FA Communications Dep. Ian Parker NLM PA Images Peter Talbot Steve Whitney/Pitchero

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SATURDAY 21ST MAY 2017

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elcome to a special digital issue of TheNonLeague, the football magazine for supporters of non-league football. Here we are at the end of yet another brilliant season, during which we’ve seen history created at more or less every level in the pyramid, with records tumbling up and down the country. We were also witness to one of non-league’s best ever seasons in the FA Cup, with National League Champions Lincoln City becoming the first non-league club to reach the last eight of the world-famous competition since before the first world war after beating Premier League Burnley at Turf Moor in their last 16 tie. Sutton United were almost there too, falling at the final hurdle against Premier League giants Arsenal. Forest Green Rovers have now joined The Imps in The Football League having overcome Tranmere Rovers in the National League ‘promotion final’ at Wembley last weekend. Mark Coopers team becoming a Football League outfit for the first time in their history thanks to their 3-1 victory. This special issue is all about this weekend’s big Wembley day out as we have features on all the teams that have made it through to Wembley for The FA Trophy and the FA Vase, as we speak to managers and players from York City, Macclesfield Town, South Shields and Cleethorpes Town. Please feel free to share the copy amongst your family and friends. We will be back in print

in time for the new season. Issue 15, like the previous three issues, was a complete sell out within days of its release and as ever we are very grateful to those clubs and supporters that bought the magazine. Next season we will be looking at continuing our ‘reseller’ offer to club’s and supporter groups to enable them to raise additional funds each time a copy is sold the club makes £2 profit. All available back issues, and indeed future issues, are available on our shop tab on the website www.thenonleague.com For the last time this season I offer a huge vote of thanks to our superb army of writers and photographers who give up their time to ensure that we can continue providing TheNonLeague magazine at such a high standard. Should you wish to join in the fun and write, or send in photos, we are always happy to receive articles and photographs from new contributors, email your details to editor@thenonleague.com Finally, our thanks to each and every person that has bought TheNonLeague, whether it be one copy or every issue, we really appreciate your support. Phil Brennan Editor *Articles and/or photos are subject to amendment and can only be used if they do not violate any copyright or personal boundaries editor@thenonleague.com

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he 2016/17 season had barely been put to bed when new of managerial casualties, resignations and appointments started flooding in!

Mark Goldberg, chairman of National League South club Welling United, announced the appointment of former boss Jamie Coyle as player-manager, with Tristan Lewis moving `upstairs` to the position of director of football. Coyle returns to the Wings from Maidstone United, where he appeared 28 times last season.

Jamleie Coy

Jack Parkinson, signed from Dover Athletic, becomes playercoach.

The Wings league rivals, Eastbourne Borough, had earlier appointed Jamie Howell as their new manager. Howell had just led Bognor Regis Town to win promotion to the National League South via the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs, so it came as something of a surprise that he jumped ship to club in the same division. 4

But Howell said: “I am delighted and honoured to be given the opportunity to manage at Eastbourne Borough. The club has been left with an excellent platform for me to work with and I cannot wait to start the process to bring success to Priory Lane. My role will encompass the first-team and overseeing the academy structure as I want us to be known for playing attractive and winning football with a nucleus of players coming through our academy.

Jameiell How

“Having spent 20 years at Bognor Regis as a player and a manager I felt it was time for another chapter in my career and I am very grateful to Bognor and wish them well in the future.” Worcester City shocked the non-League world by resigning from the National League North and being moved down to Step 5 to the Midland League.


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Article & Photos: Steve Whitney/Pitchero Article & Photos: Steve Whitney

One assumes that this scenario was already known when John Snape and Lee Hughes accepted the joint managers` roles at City! But the new management team are committed to rejuvenating Worcester with local players and playing at an affordable level, whilst waiting for developments on a return to the City. During his previous time at the club, former Kidderminster Harriers and West Brom star Hughes was an influential part of the team. And his new role will allow him to continue playing, whilst the club utilise his vast experience and knowledge to coach and develop players. Former Colchester United favourite, Kemal Izzet, has been appointed as manager of Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division club Stanway Rovers.

Stanway recently finished sixth under the management of another former U’s favourite, Karl Duguid, who will move aside to become Izzet’s assistant in a new management team at the Hawthorns. One of the more interesting appointments took place at Step 5 club Cowes Sports, who only avoided the drop from the Sydenham’s Wessex Premier Division with a final day victory over Amesbury Town.

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Thirty-six-year-old Izzet, who started his career with Charlton, went on to make over 400 appearances for Colchester in a twelveyear spell with the U`s. He moved to Needham Market in September 2013 and helped the Marketmen to the Ryman Premier Division and totalled over 130 appearances, playing his final game in the recent Suffolk Senior Cup triumph against Lowestoft Town.

Following survival, Cowes announced they had appointed former Aston Villa and England player Steve Hunt to take managerial charge next season.

Hunt, 60, who runs a coaching business on the island, had two spells with Villa and also spent two years with West Brom as well as several seasons with the New York Cosmos.

He retired from playing due to knee injury and went on to manage and coach Willenhall Town, Hinckley United and VS Rugby. His coaching spells has seen him spent time with Port Vale`s youth team and reserves, Leicester City`s youth team and later director of the Foxes School of Excellence. He left Leicester in 1993 and later moved to the Isle of Wight. >>>>>>>>>>> 5


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Away from the managerial gravy train for a while, and three players have made early moves into the Football League. Perhaps given his form for Dover Athletic in the National League where he scored an incredible 42 goals, striker Ricky Miller`s transfer to League One Peterborough United came as little surprise. Twenty-eight-year-old former Stamford, Corby Town and Boston United man Miller, who was raised in nearby Bretton, agreed a three-year contract at the ABAX Stadium after Posh beat a number of other clubs to his signature.

The 25-year-old former AFC Fylde player has scored 29 goals this season and also moves on a three-year deal. Liam Nolan completed a transfer to League Two side Accrington Stanley from Southport, who were relegated from the National League, for an undisclosed fee. The Northern Ireland central midfielder joins up with previous Port manager John Coleman.

Nolan, 22, came through Everton and then Crewe`s academy, going on to play 26 times for the Railwaymen`s senior side.

He was released at the end of the 2014/15 season and signed for Southport in August 2015. 6

Southern Division One South & West club Shortwood United have appointed Paul Meredith as manager for the upcoming season with Will Morford as player-coach. Meredith needs no introduction to the Shortwood supporters as he guided the reserve team through a highlysuccessful period that saw them achieve two successive promotions from the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League to the Hellenic League Division One West before stepping down with current reserve team boss Nick Ackland taking charge.

Rickleyr Mil

And Posh followed Miller`s signing by delving into the National League North for Stockport County`s striker Danny Lloyd.

Liamn Nola

He played around sixty times for Port and scored 4 goals.

The continuation of Morford as player-coach is also a major boost for the club as he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge and he showed last season what an asset he is to the club. Northern Premier First Division South club Leek Town saw the departure of their management team of Ant Danylyk and Paul Donnelly. The announcement came after Board discussions with the management duo. And there must be something in the local water, as nearby, Leek`s league rivals Newcastle Town also announced that their manager Scott Dundas and his staff had resigned. Forty-two-year-old Dundas, who made his name in management guiding Norton United to the North West Counties Premier Division title in April 2014 and promotion to the NPL before taking them to the First Round of the FA Cup that year, took over at Castle a year ago When Norton folded at the end of the 2014/15 after falling out with the owners of their ground, Dundas was appointed manager of NPL First Division North side Witton Albion before leaving after ten games at the helm


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL In a club statement announcing the departure of Quinn and his number two Lee Ashforth after their highest-ever finish, officials at St Giles Road said they had “reluctantly” accepted his request after a “period of deliberation”. The Ryman League and Southern League have both been handed a part in non-League football`s brand new Pyramid after the FA announced the results of the biggest shake-up to the structure of the grassroots game in more than a decade. The Ryman League was chosen on to manage and control the new Step 4 division which is being created for the start of the 2018/19 season.

LEEK MANAGEMENT and TEAM taking over at Alasager Town a few weeks later in October. Dundas quit as manager of Alsager in order to take the Lyme Valley Stadium post. One of Leek and Newcastle`s new league rivals in 2017/18, relegated Corby Town, have appointed David Bell and Rob Gould as their new management team. Former Coventry City and Rushden & Diamonds midfielder Bell was assistantmanager under Gary Mills during the latter half of last season and he now takes over as manager. Gould, a vastly experienced non-League player with several clubs, had a previous short spell as first-team coach at Steel Park and now returns as assistant-manager having previously been involved as a manager or coach at the likes of Wellingborough Town, Stamford AFC and Cogenhoe United. A little further north, Paul Quinn has stood down as manager of NPL First Division North club Brighouse Town after six years at the helm. Quinn informed the club of his intention to stand down following a ninth-place finish to the campaign.

This follows a long-awaited review of Steps 3 and 4 of the National League System to iron out geographical anomalies, cut down on travelling costs and time for fans, players and officials and encourage more Step 5 clubs to climb the Pyramid. The first major restructuring of the game since 2004 will also see the creation of a new Step 3 division which will be managed and controlled by the Southern League. In total, the 276 clubs currently playing in Steps 1 to 4 will increase by 20 to 296 when the two new divisions kick-off in August 2018. Across the board, the reshuffle will see the three current Step 3 divisions of 24 clubs increase to four divisions of 22 clubs while the six divisions at Step 4 currently run by the Northern Premier League, Southern League and Ryman League will rise from 136 clubs playing in six divisions to seven 20 club divisions. To achieve its aim, the FA also confirmed that only the bottom clubs in the current Step 3 divisions will be relegated at the end of season 2017/18. In addition, only the clubs finishing last in the six divisions currently operating at Step 4 will be relegated next season with 26 clubs coming up from Step 5. Hastings United are hunting for a new manager after Darren Hare stood down within weeks of taking the club to the Ryman South promotion play-offs. 7


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Hare, who guided the Arrows to a fifth-place finish to the campaign after taking the helm last year, stepped down to concentrate of his family and business commitments, including his work as an FA coach. Edged out on penalties by Dorking Wanderers in the play-off semi-finals, Hare’s side were the highest scorers in the top eight tiers of English football last season with 128 league goals and 150 in all competitions. Southern Division One Central club Northwood announced that it has parted company with player-manager Mark Burgess. Burgess was appointed Northwood manager in November 2012 and guided Woods to Middlesex Senior Cup success in 2016. He had two spells as a player at Northwood, and was a respected player on the local non-League circuit for many years, having played at Hendon, Wealdstone, Wembley, Kingsbury Town, Boreham Wood, Beaconsfield SYCOB, Berkhamsted and North Greenford United.

Prior to that, Baggaley led Ilfracombe Town to two third-place finishes in the Premier Division of the Western League and victory in the Les Phillips League Cup. His extensive playing career includes spells at Weston-Super-Mare, Backwell United, Torrington, Ilfracombe Town, Street and Barnstaple. Pearse returned to Bridgwater as a player earlier this season having played for the club in season 2011/12, when he was leading goal scorer and both managers’ and supporters’ player of the year. His extensive playing experience includes seasons at Odd Down, Street, Welton Rovers, Bideford, Tiverton Town, and most recently, Barnstaple where, in 106 games, scored 55 goals, playing a key role in that club’s back-toback promotions from Western League Division One to Southern Division One South & West.

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He made 229 appearances for the club, scoring 5 goals. Bridgwater Town, relegated from the Southern Division One South & West, have appointed Karl Baggaley and Dave Pearse as the club’s new joint-management team. Baggaley joins from Barnstaple Town where he has held a similar role with Barry Yeo since 2014. During that time, they delivered the Toolstation Western League Division One title in season 2014/15, then promotion from the Western League Premier Division the following season, as runners-up. 8

They have comfortably secured their status in the Southern Division One South & West for next season.

Alan Eastwood, chairman and backbone of Hellenic League One West Purton FC, announced they will return to the Wiltshire Senior League from next season. Eastwood said: “After trying for many, many years to bring their ground at the Red House up to the ground grading requirement which the Purton Parish Council ‘Trustees’ will not permit. “Winning the Hellenic League Division One in 1995/96 and Hellenic League Division One (West) in 2003/04 (going all season undefeated in the league), plus Supplementary Cup winners in 2001/2 and runners-up in the same competition in 2010/11 were the highlights of


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL the club’s stay in the league they joined in 1985/86 and overall with the players giving a good account of themselves.” Eastwood added: “My thanks to all the present and past officers of the league, and to the officials of the clubs we have met over all the seasons we have competed in the Hellenic. I will certainly miss my club’s and my visits to all the Hellenic clubs, only disappointed our club will not be represented. Despite the drop the club will be hoping that many of current players will re-sign in the Wiltshire League next season as we look for a new management team also as Justin Miller has stood down due to family commitments, along with his assistant Nick Maggs”.

Thirty-five-year-old Birch only stepped down as manager of Northern Premier League Premier Division side Hednesford Town at the end of the season. He will be tasked with getting Wood back to the Premier Division after they recently suffered relegation. Birch, who played 48 times for Walsall and also had spells in the Football League with Lincoln City and Kidderminster, has also managed Highgate United and Lichfield in the Midland League prior to taking over last season at Keys Park. Former AFC Telford United, Hereford United and Chasetown defender Richard Teesdale will be Birch`s assistant.

Gary Birch has been appointed manager of Midland League club Walsall Wood following Harry Harris` decision to concentrate on playing.

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Gary Mills

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t s i l a i c e p S y e l b m e W GARY MILLS

Less than three months into the season, York City looked destined to drop into the sixth tier of English football as The Minstermen were marooned to the foot of the National League table. With confidence low the club looked destined to face back-to-back relegations. In October Jackie McNamara resigned from first team duties, moving upstairs to allow Gary Mills to take up the managerial hot-seat again at Bootham Crescent. Things then began to pick up and with just a fortnight of the 2016-17 season to go, York City incredibly had their destiny in their own hands. Victories against Braintree Town, Chester and Solihull Moors took The Minstermen out of the drop zone. However, just one point from six in the club’s run-in, combined with two spirited draws for relegation rivals Guiseley meant one of the most exciting battles went to the final day. As York City’s clash against Forest Green Rovers ebbed and flowed on the 29th April, a 2-2 draw looked enough to keep the one-time league club in the fifth tier. That was however, until a late, late goal from Guiseley at Nethermoor Park relegated Mills men by just one point. With relegation now confirmed and an FA Trophy final on the horizon, Mills is desperate for the club to end, an in the main forgettable campaign, on a relative high. With an immediate return to the National League the priority, the City boss wants his side to play not only for pride but also for their shirts at Wembley Stadium on the 21st May. A side with a proud history in league football, an FA Trophy final appearance after relegation is still not seen as an achievement. Nevertheless, with the club seemingly in decline before Mills arrival, there is now some optimism with the 16

knowledge that the experienced manager has agreed to stay on next season. The FA Trophy run has given an insight into what, hopefully is in store for the club’s supporters as The Minstermen manoeuvred their way through the rounds. A confidence building home victory over Worcester City in the earliest round, was followed by away wins at Harlow Town and Nuneaton Town, before Brackley in the quarter-final and most impressively a 3-2 aggregate victory over National League champions Lincoln City. The Lincoln City home and away legs coincided with a run of just two league defeats in nine, and with victories over several relegation rivals, the FA Trophy was so nearly York City’s saviour this season in the division, after such a horrific beginning. Having won the FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium in 2012 and the Conference play-off final with York City, Mills is looking to make it three consecutive wins in the capital next week. A Wembley specialist, the Minstermen’s manager may not be celebrating a return to League Two this time, nonetheless he is hungry to add more silverware to his already impressive CV. Mills is under no illusions that things have been tough for the York City faithful in recent years, and with a cup final showpiece set to close the curtain on what has been a tough season, the 55-year-old is hopeful that the slate can be wiped clean, starting with silverware at Wembley. “Reaching the FA Trophy final felt magnificent, it is a trophy I have already won with York City and I am excited to step out at Wembley Stadium again this month. When I took this role, I had two jobs, one was to survive in the National


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL League and the other was to reach the FA Trophy final. “The cup run has certainly been a godsend as it has given the whole club a huge lift and given us the confidence to win league games, however it just wasn’t enough in the end unfortunately.” Despite a troublesome 2016, York City’s supporters have continued to stay faithful to their club and with an average attendance of 2,493, there is no doubting that the Minstermen will have backing come rain, wind or shine. Fourth behind Tranmere Rovers, Lincoln City and Wrexham in the attendance standings, there is potential for the club to one day reach the heights of third tier football at the very least, if they can stabilise. An expert in doing just that, Mills knows what it takes to please the York City supporters on the terraces and after playing a pivotal role in one of the club’s best seasons in 2011/12, he has full confidence that he can bring the club back to the ‘promised land’ in the not so distant future despite now finding themselves in the National League North. Excited to see thousands of York City supporters cheering on the team at Wembley Stadium, Mills reiterated his point that the cup final is for the fans “I am so pleased that we have reached the final, as it is what the fans pay their money to see. They have had a bad time of it when the club has been on its knees and the FA Trophy final will instil their confidence in the football club. “With the support they have given us all season, they deserve this trip down to Wembley and I am sure it will be a huge celebration as they can watch their team play at the national stadium. They’ve been unbelievable to me since I became manager in October and I am so pleased for them that they can have this day out now.” >>>>>

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I am so pleased that we have reached the final, as it is what the fans pay their money to see...

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Talking tactics ahead of the final, Mills is taking nothing from the fact that York City have done the double over fellow finalists Macclesfield Town in the league this season. Despite a 1-0 victory at Bootham Crescent in August and a 3-1 win at Moss Rose in late-March, the City boss knows that the form book goes out of the window when it comes to a final, especially with Macclesfield Town’s impressive record in the competition. Having assembled a squad packed full of youth and experience since taking the job, Mills is quietly confident that his team can beat anybody on their day, as he mused over the idea of winning the competition for the second time. “As in previous rounds, we have to take the final on its merits and for us it is just another game. In our battle for survival, every game has been a cup final so we will be used to the pressure and the expectations that come with the match. Macclesfield Town have had a good season, but regardless of the opposition it is about how we play on the day. It has been hard work putting together a competitive squad, as this wasn’t the case when I took the job. “I have full confidence in my squad and I feel like we can beat anybody if we play to our full potential.” Mills continued by saying: “There is no real game plan, when we kicked the last ball in April we knew that we had a three-week window to prepare for the final and I think that will do us the world of good. We won’t be changing the way we play at Wembley and this will hopefully enable us to play with freedom on what is a very good pitch.” Rebuilding the togetherness that helped the Minstermen win the FA Trophy five years ago, Mills has worked wonders in a short space of time, 18

meaning that the club are still in buoyant mood going into the final after relegation. “All we have been doing is working as a hard on the training field and this has transferred onto the pitch. We have grown from strength to strength in the competition and thankfully this has helped us reach the FA Trophy final. For the players, they have been able to use the competition as motivation and I have seen it as a real positive, as the squad have been playing for their shirt week in week out, as none of them have wanted to miss a single minute of cup action. Having used the Wembley final as the carrot for the majority of the season, Mills is not willing to rest on his laurels. An ambitious manager who is in the game to win silverware and pit his wits in the Football League, the ex- Leicester City man believes promotion next season is a real possibility. With a squad full of players who have already played in League Two and beyond, Mills is hopeful that he won’t need to make many acquisitions in the summer to compete with the league leaders rather than the bottom half next season in the sixth tier, as he finished by saying. “Last time I reached the FA Trophy final I used it to spur the side onto promotion, this time it hasn’t worked out that way, but I cannot speak about the competition highly enough. “This competition really does mean a lot to me and I couldn’t think of a better club than York City to be walking out at Wembley with. There is no doubt that the squad that I put together from January onwards has proved that they are a tough side to beat and I personally don’t feel like I need to make many changes post-Wembley. Relegation was a real low moment for us all, but there is no reason why we cannot be challenging for promotion next season and hopefully we will return to where we should be in the not so distant future.”


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ootball is a game of fine margins, with the gap between success and failure minimal. At York City, the Minstermen have learnt this the hard way this season, with an FA Trophy final appearance now marred by relegation to the National League North for the first time in the clubs proud history. Holding promotion hopefuls Forest Green Rovers to a 2-2 draw at Bootham Crescent on the final day of the season, Gary Mills men knew that a point would be enough if other scores in the division continued to be favourable. With relegation rivals Guiseley a goal down at home to Solihull Moors, a Jon Parkin brace looked enough to save the Minstermen’s blushes, and as the final minutes ticked by at Bootham Crescent, the home faithful were more interested in goings on at Nethermoor Park. In heart-breaking circumstances for the Minstermen, a last-minute Danny Lowe header for Guiseley ensured that backto-back relegations for York City became a reality rather than a great fear, and as the full-time whistle blew at Bootham >>>>> Crescent, an eerie silence descended over the ground.

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Sean Newton For a club used to playing league football, relegation to the sixth tier of English football was almost unthinkable 18 months ago, and with a huge final still to play at Wembley Stadium on the 21st May, it’ll be York City who now have to gee themselves up again for a spell in the National League North. A mainstay in the Minstermen’s side from Christmas onwards, Sean Newton has no doubt that York City will return to their former glories, and despite suffering the biggest low of his career on the 29th April, he is determined to end the season on a relative high with victory at Wembley. At the age of 28, the robust defender is determined to walk up the steps to the Royal Box at the national stadium, and despite relegation, he has urged the town of York to get behind the team for the FA Trophy final against Macclesfield Town. “Wembley has been impossible not to mention or talk about, whether that be in the dressing room or with the family. Relegation has been awful, but we need to wear the shirt with pride and win at Wembley now. In the league, the FA Trophy run actually took pressure off us and although we didn’t stay up, we used this competition as a springboard to pick up results in February and March. We shouldn’t be where we are, but a day out at Wembley should hopefully be a good day out for the fans.” A proud Scouser, Newton has played for no less than 10 clubs, despite never playing for a club in Liverpool. Playing for Stockport County between 2012 and 2013 and Lincoln City for the following two seasons after, the defender has played with a host of quality footballers. One of his former team-mates and best friends in football is current Chesterfield midfielder Jon Nolan, who happened to be with Newton at both Edgeley Park and Sincil Bank. With Nolan one of Grimsby Town’s star men at Wembley in both the play-off final and FA Trophy final last season, Newton has revealed that his friend has given him some wise words ahead of York City’s date with destiny; “Jon Nolan sent me a text straight after we won the FA Trophy semi-final and he said well-done which was nice. I speak to him most days and he has already spoken to me in length about how good Wembley is and how unbelievable the whole occasion will be. If he isn’t on 20

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Relegation has been awful, but we need to wear the shirt with pride and win at Wembley now” holiday, I am sure that he will be there in the stands cheering me on, however I think his holidays might take precedence over the game if I am honest!” A winner of the National League North playoffs with AFC Telford United in 2011, victory at Wembley will arguably be the highlight of Newton’s career. Hardly missing a game for York City since joining the club permanently in early-January, many are expecting the Chester City youth graduate to be one of the first names on the team sheet for Wembley. Having dreamt about nothing but the final since the Minstermen booked their place in the capital way back in mid-March, Newton has finished by speaking further about his desire to lift the FA Trophy aloft; “It is hard not to think about walking up the famous Wembley steps and lifting the trophy alongside my team-mates in front of my family and friends! Every night I get into bed and I dream of different scenarios that may happen on the day and of course I have dreamt about scoring the winner in front of the York end. Whatever I am thinking now, I know my emotions will be one hundred percent more intense come the day of the final and I just want to get onto the pitch now!”

Sean Newton –

o n a i r AdMoke

York City Team Mates MOST SKILFUL – It is between Adriano Moke and Aidan Connolly for me, both are incredibly skilful players and both do things on the training field that leave you gobsmacked! It would be great to see both doing their thing at Wembley.

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Sean Newton

LEAST SKILFUL – Without doubt Dan Parslow! The less said about his skills the better I think FUTURE MANAGER – Danny Holmes is definitely a future manager. He is very knowledgeable about the game, he is very passionate and I think he fancies himself in the dug-out after he hangs up his boots. MR YORK CITY – Again Dan Parslow, he was at the club for a very long time before he left and making over 250 appearances in his first spell just shows how committed he is to the cause. He’s won the FA Trophy with York at Wembley and we’ll be looking to him for his experience on match day. BIGGEST MOANER – I hold my hands up and admit that I am up there! Amari Morgan-Smith is definitely the worst though. If his kit doesn’t smell the right way or if the water isn’t a certain temperature in the showers he has a real moan. BEST TRAINER – Danny Holmes again, he isn’t the future manager for no reason. He leads by example on the training field and he is a great role model for the younger lads. WORST TRAINER – Jon Parkin, the big lad doesn’t love training, but if he scores a few at Wembley it’ll all be forgotten. LONGEST IN THE SHOWER – That is definitely Amari Morgan-Smith!

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Article by: Lewis Richards

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hen it comes to that awkward situation of choosing your girlfriend or football, most might pick their love for ‘The Beautiful Game’ rather than their partner. With Macclesfield Town midfielder, Kingsley James, he managed to find a way to do both! Last year, relegated Halifax Town made the trip down to Wembley in the FA Trophy final to take on Grimsby Town in what would be the grandest competition for the whole of non-league football. For Kingsley, this turned out to be one of the best weekends of his life. The 25-year old managed to wed his fiancé Emily, and win the FA Trophy on the same weekend. With some complications and issues, Kingsley got himself down to London by cutting his wedding short showing his commitment towards Halifax. With The Shaymen already being relegated into the National League North, a win was much needed and was well deserved on the day with Halifax coming out as 1-0 winners in front of over 45,000 spectators. Going back to the situation last year, the former England C International managed to get a plane from Leeds Bradford Airport down to English capital for the final, only to learn that he had been placed on the bench for the game. “We planned to get married in the Summer and usually the FA Trophy is before the end of the season so I booked the wedding for the 21st May. I then found out that the final was on the 22nd May. We ended up making the final with Halifax so I had to travel down on the next day after my wedding. I was annoyed. I played every game throughout the season with 56 games and then we got to the final – I

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Kingsley James

I have had a good season which has been helped by everyone around me”

got down to Wembley only to be told that I wasn’t playing! In all honesty, if they had told me beforehand I probably would have said that I’d just enjoy my wedding day and then come down to support the lads.” Macclesfield will face York City in the final with The Minstermen seeing most of bottom end of the table for the majority of the season. A rise in results for York saw them gain several places and with several January additions, City looked a good contender to avoid the drop. “We know what York are about so we know what to expect and we need to prepare for that”, said James. They have done what they have needed to do when you’re down there fighting for your life. You have to win games! “They’ve got some good players so it’s no surprise that they have managed to win a few games towards the end of the season. They’re a good team. The players they have managed to bring in are good players for this level so we know what to expect from them.” John Askey’s Macclesfield Town side managed to finish just outside the play-off places for this season but enjoyed an excellent FA Cup run to the 4th Round when they enjoyed limelight with the BBC for the 0-0 draw against Oxford United. They also managed to defeat League One side Walsall in the third round before also succeeding in the FA Trophy. On a personal level, the former Sheffield United youth captain believes that he has progressed during his time at the Moss Rose whilst learning from experienced players. “I think I’ve done well”, said James. “I have had a good season which has been helped by everyone around me. It’s difficult to personally play well so the lads around me have been really good and have let me

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL play well. We’ve got a lot of experienced lads here such as: Danny Whitaker, George Pilkington, John McCombe and Chris Holroyd so it’s been good to play with people like that. I have learned a lot from playing with them and have learned little things which will help me progress.” It would be most footballer’s dreams to play at the national stadium and with already having that experience from last year’s final, James will be hoping to take that knowledge into this year’s competition. “It was a great experience”, added James. “It’s completely different from anything else you have ever experienced! You’re so buoyant from the atmosphere so it speaks for itself. It was overwhelming. It was a nervous/excited feeling so it will be a great day for all the lads and at this level, it’s the most realistic chance to play at Wembley in the FA Trophy so it’s been great to achieve and to add to what we have already achieved.” On the 21st of May, a suspected 30,000 supporters will enter Wembley Stadium to witness the finals of FA Trophy and Vase with both finals being played on the same day. The Vase will see Cleethorpes Town take on South Shields in the earlier kick-off with Kingsley playing at 4:15pm. One supporter Kingsley hopes will be there is his wife, Emily who will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Shortly after their marriage in North Yorkshire, the newly-wed couple visited South Africa for 11 days for their honeymoon. 12 months on, the couple could be celebrating in North London with a second FA Trophy winners medal. “It was one of those”, joked Kingsley. “When we got to the semi-finals she was like ‘Am I going to have my wedding anniversary overshadowed by football again?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. We’re not there yet.’ “When we got to the final she rang me and asked how I was feeling about it and I said yeah, I feel good. She asked if she had to come. That was the first question! But no, she’s absolutely on board with it and I think she will be there.” 31


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t the club, there are two big photos of the Macclesfield Town teams that won the FA Trophy in the past, it would be great to add another one and be part of history forever at the club” these are the words of current skipper Andy Halls who would like to follow in the footsteps of his manager John Askey, a player when The Silkmen lifted the trophy in 1996, adding to the clubs win in 1970. Halls is hoping to end the proudest of his four seasons at The Moss Rose with success at Wembley Stadium, the defender is very much looking forward to the prospect of leading his side out on the big day “I’ve enjoyed a really good four years here since moving from Stockport, personally I feel that it’s been four years of progression, I’ve become a better player, won international caps for my country and to be named as captain for this season was a fantastic honour. “To be the one that leads my club out on the biggest stage in the game will be a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This club has a special connection with the FA Trophy having won it twice before and having a manager that’s already won it, it feels like a special trophy for us. Hopefully we can win it and make it special for us as a team on the day” The Silkmen have earned their place in the final having played two games more than their opponents to reach the showdown at The National stadium, including several impressive results on the road. John Askeys men saw of the challenges of Altrincham, AFC Sudbury, Forest Green Rovers and Dulwich Hamlet before the biggest test came in the twolegged semi-final against Tranmere Rovers when they

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To be the one that leads my club out on the biggest stage in the game will be a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life... turned a disappointing home draw around by winning at Prenton Park to claim their place in the final. Halls feels that the FA Trophy run has helped his side overcome the disappointment of missing out on a play-off place for the second campaign in succession: “We have shown in our performances in the cup run that we are more than capable of taking on and beating good sides. All too often this season we have let the points slip away in league games, especially against teams that we would expect to beat. The FA Trophy has brought out the best in us and we have done it the hard way, getting draws away at Altrincham and Dulwich Hamlet before winning the replays. The game against Forest Green Rovers was probably one of our best performances of the season and the two legs against Tranmere were very tight. The highlight of the cup run for me was Ollie Norburn’s goal to win the semi-final, we deserved to win after our performance that day and it was a great feeling at the final whistle” Halls acknowledges that despite the clubs upcoming Wembley appearance, there is a certain amount of frustration at the club’s final league position: “As a team I feel that we are definitely good enough to get in the top five, we just need to be more consistent over the full season. I

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think where we’ve let ourselves down this term is when we’ve allowed sides that are scrapping for their lives, to bully us out of games. Having the captaincy has brought added pressure, but it’s been a pressure that I’ve enjoyed. On the whole I probably played better last year as I’ve had a couple of niggling injuries which have also been frustrating for me personally” Consistency is a word that Halls uses often in conversation and he feels that it is something that he has added to his own game since arriving from his first club Stockport back in 2013, his performance being such that he made several appearances for England C last term. “In the four seasons since I arrived at the club I’ve played a lot of games, I’ve become accustomed to what the demands of National League football are, I’ve developed in stature and strength which has also given me more confidence, which has meant that I have been much more consistent in my performances. “In the last two seasons I have probably the fittest I’ve ever been, and that combined with my club performances helped me come to the attention of England manager Paul Fairclough. Those games were easily the highlight of my career to date, albeit leading my team to a Wembley win would take the top spot” 33


WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Andy Halls Looking forward to the final, Halls is well aware of the threat from a York City squad that have several former Silkmen in their ranks, plus his former team mates Sean Newton and Adriano Moke who, if playing, are likely to his direct opposition: “I have played with and against both lads and they are both decent players who on their day can give anyone problems. We obviously lost to York in our most recent game when they put together a good run as they tried to stay up. On the night, they deserved the win but ultimately it didn’t help them as they were relegated on the last day. “Wembley will be a different game altogether for both sides, we are relaxed and are looking to finish the season on a high whilst they will still be coming to terms with dropping down for the second season in succession. If we play to our potential then I am confident that we will be taking the FA Trophy back to Cheshire at the final whistle”

e r i f k c i u 10 Q ons i t s e Qu 1.

BEST PLAYER EVER PLAYED WITH: Danny Rowe of Ipswich Town. Danny was my team mate at both Stockport and here at Macclesfield, and I always felt he had a chance to make it back into the league.

2.

BEST PLAYER EVER PLAYED AGAINST: I would probably say Fabian Delph, I made my Stockport debut against Leeds a few years ago and I knew straight away he was always going to make a name for himself.

3. MOST INTELLIGENT AT CLUB: Dan Cowan, is probably the best educated amongst the squad. 4. LEAST INTELLIGENT AT THE CLUB: I know he’s on loan with us, but it has to be Danny Whitehead. 5. MOST SKILFUL AT CLUB: Chris Holroyd, he’s got some decent skills. 34

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4 Danitneyhead Wh 6.

LEAST SKILFUL: I wouldn’t say least skillful, but George Pilkington doesn’t do anything fancy, he just does everything simple but very well. I’ve played with him for a few years and I can’t remember him having a bad game.

7. FASTEST PLAYER AT CLUB: Chris Sutherland has spent a fair bit of time out on loan, but he is easily the fastest in the squad. 8. BEST TRAINER: Danny Whitaker is the one who takes it the most seriously. 9.

BEST DRESSED AT CLUB: I think all the lads would agree that its David Fitzpatrick, he even wears a suit for training.

10. WORST DRESSED AT CLUB: Big John McCombe, he wears some horrendous polo jumpers.

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o t n o g n i Stepp f r u t d e the hallow

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itting at Wembley Stadium and watching Scunthorpe United in the 2009 League One play-off final and Football League Trophy Final, a young Peter Winn could only have dreamed about one-day stepping onto the hallowed turf of the nation’s biggest football stadium. At the Iron from 2005 to 2010, Winn’s first-team opportunities at Glanford Park were limited with just four appearances in five years, however the day at Wembley watching his side beat Millwall to climb into the second tier is one that will live long in the memory. Leaving the club and moving on to join Stevenage, Winn’s lucky touch again rubbed off on the Boro. With the side reaching the League Two play-off final, the attacker was an un-used substitute as Graham Westley’s men beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 at Old Trafford. With Wembley Stadium double booked due to the Champions League final in 2011, Winn missed out on his third appearance to the capital on that occasion. However, six years on the 28-year-old will have the opportunity to represent his hometown club at Wembley, as Cleethorpes Town line up to face South Shields for the FA Vase final. Joining the Owls in 2015, Winn has been an ever-present at the Bradley Football Development Centre, with Cleethorpes Town transforming from ‘also-rans’ to league champions and FA Vase finalists in the space of 18 months. Gaining promotion to the Northern Premier League after accumulating an incredible 108 points this season, the Owls are a club on the up and despite being under-dogs at Wembley, Winn is quietly confident that his side has what it takes to complete a historic league and cup double. Defeating the likes of Bootle, Atherton Collieries and Bromsgrove Sporting to reach the final showpiece, Winn has revealed that playing for his boyhood club at Wembley won’t sink in for a very long time; “I am absolutely ecstatic, I have been to Wembley with Scunthorpe United when I was younger but never played, so to be in this position now feels very surreal. I cannot put into words what reaching the final means to me if I am honest. “I have played professional football before and been a part of some big games but nothing comes close to the 21st May. It is a dream come true to represent Cleethorpes Town in a national final and I really do believe we have what it takes to win.” Backed by a partisan following both home and away, Cleethorpes Town can expect to have sizeable support at Non-League Finals Day. As the crowds have grown, so has the camaraderie in the dressing room and it was telling to see the way the Owls side celebrated as a unit after defeating Bromsgrove Sporting in the FA Vase semi-finals in mid-March. A team full of local lads who understand what it

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Peter Winn

It is a dream come true to represent Cleethorpes Town in a national final” means to pull on a Cleethorpes Town shirt, Winn explained why the Owls togetherness and team spirit has helped the club overcome all of the odds this season; “There are plenty of good individuals here and the fact most of the lads know each other away from football really helps. We play for each other on the field and we really are like a family. The majority of the team are from the Grimsby-area and that has helped. “A lot of us went to school together, we have grown up together and that has really helped us click on the field. We can guarantee that we will be giving the fans 110% and no matter what happens at the final, we are determined to make the town of Cleethorpes proud.” Attracting an average crowd of 193 this season, the Owls have seen an incredible 28% rise in attendances from the previous year. Success on and off the field has got the locals of Cleethorpes talking about their club again, and this has shown in ticket sales for Wembley. After Grimsby Town visited the national stadium not once but twice last season, it is now the noisy neighbours turn to turn the capital black and blue, and there is every chance that the Owls fans will be seen all over London before and after the final. Familiar to playing in front of big crowds during his time at Scunthorpe United, Stevenage, Macclesfield Town and Chester, Winn is aiming to act as a role model and a father figure for the younger players in the dressing room. With many in the Cleethorpes Town side used to playing in front of no more than three to four hundred fans, Winn’s leadership and guidance on finals day could prove invaluable. Coping with the pressure of playing in front of 3,500 fans in the first leg of the FA Vase semifinals at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground, Winn spoke about the importance of mental 42

preparation before the game, with an expected crowd of over 30,000; “A lot of the lads have never played in front of big crowds before but we are playing with no fear and as a relatively new club, we have come on so much in a short space of time. I am going to do all I can to prepare the lads before the game and I am sure they will all be excited rather than nervous come kick-off time. “There are some very experienced players here and there’s quite a few who can step up. We just want to play football and whether we are in front of 20 fans or 90,000 we will stick together, fight for the badge and give our all for Cleethorpes Town FC.” Formed in 1998, Cleethorpes Town have climbed up through the Lincolnshire League’s to compete in the Northern Counties East League alongside the likes of Worksop Town and Bridlington Town. Winning the Northern Counties East League Division One in 2014, Winn is sure that the Owls will have what it takes to perform in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League; “Reaching Wembley and playing in the FA Vase final is a huge springboard for the club. It projects us onto the national stage and there will be people watching the game both in the ground and on television that will never have heard about Cleethorpes Town before. “We have a lot of very good young players in the squad and it only takes one scout or one manager to be watching for their careers to change more than they can ever imagine. This could be huge for us, and with the fan base growing we are desperate to send the supporters home to Cleethorpes with huge smiles on their faces.”


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e h t d e m r o f s n a r T

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Owls

aking charge of Cleethorpes Town in 2013, Marcus Newell has transformed the Owls into a combative, hard-working and attacking side who are capable of beating anybody on their day, both in the league and in the cups. Since taking the club into the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, Newell has seen gradual progression at the Bradley Football Development Centre, as the club has improved on their league position and points tallies in the last three campaigns. Finishing a respectable fourth in their first season in the NCEL Premier, the Owls then finished third last season, before eventually going all the way this term by scooping the league title in extraordinary circumstances. With a lengthy unbeaten run helping the club climb to the summit, victories helped the club win 35 of their 42 league games, in the process accumulating 108 points, scoring 144 league goals and losing just four times in the process. Winning the league on its own would be enough for most managers, however for Newell and his backroom staff, the league and cup double was always on the back of their minds and as the Owls went through the rounds in the FA Vase, Wembley became a reality rather than a pipe-dream. After scrapping past AFC Emley in the FA Vase second round, the Owls went on an incredible run that saw them defeat North West Counties leaders Bootle, Billingham Town, Southall and most impressively Midlands League winners Bromsgrove Sporting. Going into every game as under-dogs, Newell set his side up to attack with pace and defend with courage, something that worked fantastically in both the home and away legs of the FA Vase semi-final against free-scoring Bromsgrove Sporting. As the Wembley show-piece looms on the horizon, Newell is not willing to rest on his laurels and with the job only half done in his eyes, the prospect of adding ‘FA Vase winner’ to his CV is the hunger that his side needs. A young and ambitious manager, Newell explained that late goals in a number of rounds meant that reaching the final is even more of an achievement, especially

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when the Owls were a goal down to Bootle with five minutes to play; “It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, it is a huge achievement for the whole club though and I am sure that all of the fans are incredibly excited to see Cleethorpes Town run out at Wembley for what is the biggest moment in our club’s history. “There was never a point that I thought we had secured our place at Wembley, especially as we made a habit of coming from behind in a number of our games. We scored late goals in three of the rounds and I definitely didn’t dare to dream at that point. As a manager, you want to test yourself on the biggest stage and the Wembley showpiece will be great for the club, the fans, my players and myself for a number of different reasons.” Just eight miles away from Wembley Stadium in the FA Vase quarter-finals away at Southall, the Cleethorpes Town side had the pleasure of driving past Wembley Stadium to reach Reynolds Field. Winning 5-2 that day, the drive back up to Cleethorpes via Wembley made the prospect of playing at the national stadium suddenly feel real. However, despite many of the squad getting excited, Newell has always been grounded and determined to keep his feet firmly on the ground. Knowing nothing but success in his four-year tenure at the club, the Owls man in the dug-out has set his sights on continuing his incredible run

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Marcus Newell of trophies won, as he admitted that adding the FA Vase to the cabinet would top anything else ever achieved in his managerial career; “We have been focused on the league all season as that is our bread and butter, however when an incredible opportunity like the FA Vase final comes along, it is hard to ignore it. Nothing compares to playing at Wembley Stadium as a player and I am so proud of the whole squad for getting to where we are now. We have a squad full of experienced and youthful players, and for the older ones in the group, now is the time that they need to stand up and be counted.” As with all Non-League clubs, Cleethorpes Town’s band of loyal and devoted volunteers is what keeps the humble Owls ticking behind the scenes. A relatively small club in the area in the shadows of Grimsby Town, Hull City, Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United all in close proximity, the whole of North East Lincolnshire will be behind the club on the 21st May. Not forgetting those who helped the club grow in the first place, Newell’s thanked the Owls supporters and volunteers for their continued support since he joined the club in 2013; “Whenever you go down to the ground on a non-match day, there are volunteers their working on the pitch or in the dressing rooms or in the car park. It is fantastic to see so many people giving up their time to support the club and the FA Vase final is for them now!” With many tipping South Shields to win the final at a canter, Newell

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL warns that neutrals can discount the Owls at their peril. As two league champions come face-to-face at Wembley, both with proud unbeaten records to uphold, something has to give on Non-League finals day, making the game a mouth-watering contest for all watching. Finishing in high spirits with the final just a matter of days away, Newell has seen Wembley fever hit the town of Cleethorpes, and with excitement building further; “When you get to Wembley, of course you want to come away as winners and I have no doubt that our team will give the final their all. South Shields are a fantastic team, but if we play to our strengths we can beat anybody on our day and that makes for a fantastic spectacle on the 21st.”

Nothing compares to playing at Wembley Stadium as a player and I am so proud of the whole squad for getting to where we are now... 47


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n o t n e F n m o a t h c Gra Lee Pi

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Photos: Peter Talbot

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ecord breakers, league champions, FA Vase finalists, South Shields FC have certainly had a year to remember. Promoted from the Northern League Division One last season, nobody expected the club to perform the way they have this season, however with Julio Arca and co, nothing has been impossible for the North-East men. Win after win after win saw South Shields go from promotion hopefuls to promotion certainties, and as South Shields sat pretty at the top of their respective division, the side had the confidence to put together a solid effort to reach the FA Vase showpiece at Wembley Stadium. Losing out to eventual winners Morpeth Town last season, South Shields have watched the likes of North Shields, Whitley Bay and the Morpeth enjoy their day out in the sun at Wembley, with the hunger greater than ever to follow in their footsteps this time around.

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o i l u J rca A

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Julio Arca

We have reached

this final on merit” Expected to be cheered on by over 10,000 supporters at Wembley, South Shields army of claret and blue shirts will stand out on May 21st, and with statistically one of the best teams in Non-League football, they will also be hoping that they will be making the long journey home as FA Vase champions. Arguably the sides stand out player due to his illustrious name in the professional game, Argentinian maestro Julio Arca has pulled the strings in the heart of the South Shields midfield over the past couple of years. Scoring a spectacular goal in the Vase quarterfinals away at Solent FC, Arca has found it hard not to steal the headlines either, and as the famous competition has reached its climax, the former Sunderland and Middlesbrough man has high hopes for his side as they prepare for one of the biggest games in the club’s history. Watched by over 4,000 supporters in the semifinal against Coleshill Town, Arca has thanked the club’s supporters for their unwavering support, as he spoke about his emotions in the build up to the final against Cleethorpes Town. “This FA Vase run has been the icing on the cake of what has been a drawn-out process that started in 2015. Last season we wanted promotion and I feel we were unfortunate not to reach the Vase final at Wembley. However, I think the near-miss has made us stronger and hungrier for success this time. In pre-season, we wanted to win the league again but there was a larger impetus put on the FA Vase as well. To get to the final at Wembley Stadium is absolutely fantastic and I cannot wait to see all the fans in our end on the 21st.” 54

Arca added excitedly: “The fans deserve their day out at Wembley and the whole town has been amazing ever since we booked our place in the final. To have a sell-out and one of our biggest ever attendances for the semi-final just shows that this club is going places and I am sure at Wembley we will be backed by thousands!” Before winning the Northern League Division One title in 2016, South Shields had endured a number of tough years both on and off the field. Arca’s move to the club at the beginning of the 2015-16 season kick-started a new beginning for the Mariners, and the club has not looked back since. For Arca himself, a move back to his native Argentina or a stint at a League One or League Two club may have seemed the sensible option after playing over 250 times in the Premier League. However, as a man who simply loves football, the challenge of pitting his wits in the lower echelons of the Non-League game was something that he simply could not turn down. Helping the club build a name for themselves not only in the region but also nationally, Arca believes the best is still yet to come for the Mariners, as he explained why a victory at Wembley Stadium should attract bigger crowds to the terraces and better players to the club in the pre-season.


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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL Julio Arca “If you asked anyone in the town two years ago, they would never have predicted that South Shields FC would have won back-to-back league titles, not to mention the FA Vase run. It just shows the direction we are going in now and the support we are getting, will bring people through the gates, which will help the finances, which will in turn see us able to compete with the big clubs in the North East. When you win games and do well, people want to support you and what better way to grow the club than by winning at the national stadium. I want to win the FA Vase and we do, it will be dedicated to the whole town!” As with all campaigns, South Shields FA Vase run has had its fair share of controversies, most notably the ‘floodlight saga’ that kept the Mariners in the competition when their run seemingly looked to be coming to an end. 4-2 down to Morpeth Town in last-16 of the competition and down to 10 men, South Shields were handed a lifeline as a floodlight failure meant the game was abandoned and replayed at a later date. Admitting that his side were lucky that day, Arca stated that getting the rub of green that day was simply good fortune, with the Mariners going on to win the re-arranged cup tie. “What happened that day, I do not think will ever happen again in football! It was nothing to do with the players or the club, and it was later proved that it was not anyone’s fault. Being 4-2 up in the game, Morpeth Town were of course disappointed but these things happen in football. “In different countries, the game would have been replayed from the time the original fixture was stopped, but in England things are different. Rules are rules and thankfully we won the replay and showed what we could do with 11 men on the pitch. You need to be lucky to win competitions but at the end of the day, we have reached this final on merit and we are confident that we can beat anybody when we are playing to our full potential.” As the older statesmen in the team, 36-year-old Arca has acted as a role model for the younger players in the Mariners squad this season. Having played in fierce North East derby’s in front of 50,000 partisan fans less than a decade ago, the Argentinian is sure to feel at home when he steps on to the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium. With the domestic season over, Arca has worked as the go-between for the players and the management at the club, with the standards in training intensifying by the week as the big game edges closer and closer. As the big cup final looms on the horizon, the versatile midfielder believes that South Shields mix of youthful exuberance and players 56

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WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL • WEMBLEY SPECIAL who have won the FA Vase before gives the Mariners the perfect balance: “At the moment, the lads are acting in the right way and our preparation for this final has been incredibly professional. Some of the squad have never played in front of 5,000 fans before let alone 50,000, and it is my responsibility to prepare them for that. There are of course the lads at the club who have won the competition before with other clubs, and they know what it will be like. Because of this, we are all helping each other get mentally and physically prepared for the final.” Co-managed by Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, Arca has flourished at Mariners Park working with two of the brightest managers in the North East. With Fenton scoring goals for the likes of Aston Villa, Leicester City and St Mirren, it is no surprise that the Mariners have scored goals a plenty over the last two seasons. For a player that has played at the top, Arca has admitted that he is still learning on a regular basis from his current managers, and with Non-League football still relatively new to the Argentinian, he has admitted that Fenton and Picton have been great to work with at Mariners Park. “Graham and Lee both have a lot of experience, with Graham playing in the Premier League and Lee playing a lot of games in NonLeague football. They know what the Northern League is all about and I can see them both going very far in the future. They are putting in the time and effort to better the team and themselves as coaches, they manage the squad very well in terms of rotating the team and man-management. We have had a lot of games this season and they have done great in keeping the lads rested, happy and pushing in the right direction.” Winning the Championship with Sunderland in 2005, as well as the Under 20 World Cup with Argentina in 2001, Arca is no stranger to silverware. And with time against him the Argentinian feels like the FA Vase final

may be his last chance to play at Wembley, and he is planning to grab the opportunity by both hands, as he finished by saying. “Finals can go either way, and although we are favourites to win the game against Cleethorpes Town, if we do not play the right way we could easily lose. I watched the FA Vase final last season and it just shows that fan base and league form means nothing if you don’t show up on the day. Hereford were on top in the first half and Morpeth weren’t clicking at all, however in the second half it was all Morpeth and they rightfully lifted the Vase. Anything can happen on one-off occasions and it is all about who plays the pressure the best. Finals are all about preparing and we will only have one chance to win at Wembley, so we need to take it! We need to give it our all and as I will probably never be in this position again, I am desperate to win the trophy!”

LEE PICTON (L) AND GRAHAM FENTON (R) 57


Article/Photos courtesy of The FA Communications Division

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Sunday 21st of May will see volunteers from all the four clubs participating in the two big finals receiving awards as part of The FA’s campaign for heroes.

The awards recognise the role that all volunteers play in non-league football and how they are the heartbeat of their clubs, with volunteers up and down the country working tirelessly to help their club. The FA will be recognising two volunteers from each of the four clubs on the day and ahead of their respective games with The FA Chairman Greg Clarke presenting them with a volunteer recognition award pitch side. 58

The volunteers recognised on the day are as follows: Robert Havercroft (York City) – A lifelong York fan and tannoy announcer since 1999, Robert is approaching his 20th year behind the mic Gordon Neale (York City) – Gordon has been supporting the club since 1964 and has been a programme seller at the club since 1994. He’s obsessed by programmes and even takes a box with him on holiday! Barrie Darcey (Macclesfield Town) – Barrie has been involved in the club for

17 years. He’s now part of the operational management team, helping the chairman with cash flow, payments etc. Without him there wouldn’t be a matchday. Phil Gibbons (Macclesfield Town) – Phil has been a matchday volunteer since 1989. He is a jack of all trades, starting off as a matchday steward, organising


testimonials for players, working for the supporters’ club, selling raffle tickets, the list is endless Jevon Southam (Cleethorpes Town) – Jevon has been the club secretary for 14 years, right from the start in the Lincolnshire League. He recently suffered a stroke but this hasn’t deterred him from still being involved (claiming Cleethorpes has helped his recovery) Shaun Colbeck (Cleethorpes Town) – Shaun has been at the club since the very beginning, helping with all sorts. He currently works on the turnstiles but is prepared to help with whatever, rain or shine Gary Crutwell (South Shields) – Gary became involved in the club in 2006 by chance. He is now the facilities manager, on average working 12 hours a day – seven days a week Daniel Prince (South Shields) – The club’s media manager, Daniel manages the website, social media and media relations on top of a full-time job as a journalist. He starts his normal matchday at 11am and might not finish until 3am

59


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