Dereham Town going for FA Cup glory
Get along to Aldiss Park today (Saturday) – and roar the Magpies to FA Cup glory!
That is the plea to the whole of Dereham - and the rest of the county - as the town’s footballers aim to create a special bit of local sporting folklore in the biggest match in the club’s 116-year history.
Matt Henman’s men are taking on the Met Police from the Ryman League – two rungs higher in the football pyramid – in the third qualifying round of the famous competition.
The Magpies are just 180 minutes away from a potential clash with a League One or League Two club.
The EDP has produced a special souvenir edition - which is on sale in the Dereham area today - to celebrate club’s success.
Club chairman Mike Baldry said there was a “buzz” in the town about the team and its future and he was “thrilled” about the success so far.
A crowd of 270 turned out for the game against Chasetown at Aldiss Park in the last round – and while club officials remain positive about local support, they would clearly like more people to turn out to cheer on the Magpies.
With Norwich City playing away at Chelsea, it means local Carrow Road season ticket holders could attend the match.
And it is hoped followers of other local non-league teams will also back Dereham in their quest for glory.
The Football Association is covering the match as part of its Road to Wembley feature.
The players vowed to give everything they have.
Striker Scott Sutherland-Gray - who scored one of the goals in the victory in the last round against Chasetown - said: “This is the biggest game of my life so far. Let’s get behind the Magpies as we try and fly into the next round.”
Dead ball specialist Gary Starling - who faces a late fitness test ahead of the big match - said: “This is the biggest game in the club’s history made all the more important for myself being a Dereham lad. We need everyone around Dereham to come along and support us as everybody knows as a unit we are stronger!”
Winger Nicky Howell, who also scored against Chasetown, said: “It’s a big game for us. It’s a chance to make everyone connected with the club very proud. We want to give our all and not let anyone down”
Sam Willis revelled in FA Cup glory: “From Roberto Di Matteo’s 30-yard screamer in 1997 to Steven Gerrard’s last minute lash to deny West Ham cup glory in 2006, the FA Cup is the single greatest and historic cup in the world. Bring your mates along to Aldiss Park and watch your local lads cement some more FA Cup history.”
Midfielder Aaron Kay added: “We are absolutely buzzing for the game. It’s a dream come true to be part of the FA Cup and I hope the people of Dereham come out to support their local team and be our 12th man to spur on us to hopefully the next round.”
Long-serving ‘keeper John Fox - who is likely to be on the bench at Aldiss Park today - added: “Today’s game has created a real buzz around the town amongst the public.
“It means a lot to them. Everyone I bump into wants to stop to talk about the game, even people I never knew followed football. To me, I feel it’s nothing more than the team deserves. When I first started out for town years ago, we had nothing like this to compete in.”
Striker Craig Bussens said: “It means a lot to be involved in the club’s biggest game and hopefully I can be a part in helping us progress.”
Kick off is 3pm today.
Ticket prices are £6.50 for adults and £3.50 for concessions.
Parking is free at Aldiss Park. Fans are advised to arrive early to avoid queues on Norwich Road.