Wembley Stadium [Match 1 of 2]
Sunday 22nd May, the day when history was made as the FA decided to host both the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals back-to-back live from the iconic Wembley Stadium. The day that I'd been waiting for had come upon me and I was ready to set off to London in search of any non-league fan's dream day out at Wembley. With a bag full of beer and a smile on my face, I found myself sat in Basildon train station at 8:55am with an otherwise grumpy bunch of Essex-folk who apparently weren't looking forward to the day as much as me. Spotting no other football fans on the train to London Fenchurch, I started to wonder at what point I would be hit by the inevitable flurry of fans from Hereford, the northern crowds of Halifax and Grimsby faithful and the light sprinkling of over-excited tangerine-coloured Morpethians. So far, the only tangerine-coloured people I'd seen were fresh from the sunbeds of Basildon's town centre.
|The starting point for today's almighty adventure|
|A big day out for the Shaymen|
|Here we go, here we go, here we go!|
|Fitting in as Geordies- minus the Canvey Island shirt and lack of Newcastle Brown|
|Game time- and a few of the Halifax and Grimsby fans had started to filter in|
|The Hereford masses couldn't believe the start- and the Peth faithful didn't want to|
|Why aye, man!|
|That's more like it lads, let's see those smiles|
|Beer Only Lane- it's as if they knew that's what people would want!|
Following a dirty lunge from a Hereford player, I did eventually start off a chant of "off, off, off, off!" which the referee wasn't buying. The disgruntled fans soon perked up though as the groundsman, yes the groundsman (and striker), notched a third goal for Morpeth in the 60th minute, to send the fans into ecstasy. Morpeth 3-1 Hereford. The town, supposedly named after the Norman term for "murder path", were well and truly killing off the favourites and it appeared to be of no surprise to them. The fans had always backed their lads to come to Wembley and produce the goods, and barring the poor opening they had done just that. As time ran down, Hereford brought on some fresh-legs to try and force their way back in, but some meaty challenges from former Vase winner Keith Graydon were enough to subdue the pressure. A close effort from an all-out attack almost halved the goal difference for Hereford, but eventually it would prove to increase to three after Bell's deflected hit sealed the deal for Morpeth. Morpeth 4-1 Hereford. No more action followed in terms of goals, and that was that. Game one of two was over and the mighty Morpeth Town had won the Vase. We hung around to watch them lift the silverware and spread the champagne, whilst watching the tonnes of Hereford fans descend from the ground. You cannot help but appreciate the turnout from both sets of fans, but Hereford really did go above and beyond with their support and it is a credit to the club that they travelled in such numbers.
|Party time for the Northumberlanders|
Halifax Town 1-0 Grimsby Town (FA Trophy Final)Wembley Stadium [Match 2 of 2]
And with all of the excitement still fresh in the mind of fans, it was hard to believe that we had another feast of football to come in just under two hours. This time though, in the form of non-league heavyweights Grimsby Town and Halifax Town. Throughout the course of the firs match, the stands started to fill with fans who wanted to catch the end of the Vase match, and now we were starting to see some of the fans from Morpeth and Hereford disappear, having had enough excitement for one day. Needless to say that me and Dean were in it for the long-haul and we took our place back in the bar to nibble on a couple of hot dogs whilst we waited for round two. As a Macclesfield Town fan, I felt that I owed it to Halifax to support them in this one, seems as how our draw with them at the end of the season relegated them just a few weekends ago. To test the waters, I told one Halifax fan that I was a Silkmen fan whilst in a queue for beer, to which his response was to pace away from the queue whilst saying "I'm not queueing with him!".
|Was it something I said?|
|A great goal and well deserved|
|The Halifax fans at last had something to smile about|
|Up the Morpeth!|