This Bank Holiday Monday finally sees the delayed 2019/20 FA Trophy and Vase Finals feature at Wembley Stadium in which for the first time ever a Football League club will be contesting the former named competition such has been the wait.
Despite fans being allowed in the stadium last weekend for the Carabao Cup final, eight thousand in total, all four teams will have to settle for playing out in front of empty seats, the usual logic being applied by both the government and the FA when it comes to making inconsistent decisions.
Both games are being broadcast as per normal on BT Sport and also being made free for those who don’t subscribe to be able to watch, the winners of both matches likely to be holding the trophy for the matter of about four weeks before this year’s competitions reach their conclusion.
For Concord Rangers it’s a very stiff task up against Harrogate Town who now ply their trade in the Football League having won the National League play-offs last season, no strangers to visiting an empty Wembley Stadium. Coming up against a full time team who have been playing week in week out whilst the part time side from Essex have not played competitively for over two months.
Town will start as strong favourites but the side with one of the best nick names in football, The Beachboys, will no doubt give their all in front of the televised audience.
Their Thames Road in Canvey Island saw the emergence of the Cowley brothers, Danny and Nicky, who led the club to three promotions in their eight years which has led onto bigger jobs and some good success for the duo.
Since promotion in 2013 from the Isthmian League, the Beachboys have established themselves in the National League South and were sitting in 17th place when this current season was curtailed. The Trophy campaign has been their best ever showing in an FA competition, the furthest previous was a quarter final appearance in the Vase some 13 years ago.
Whilst manager Danny Scopes has been able to get his side playing friendlies and of course training it’s not going to compare to the big day out but adrenalin will carry these players out onto that pitch.
Having followed the chairman Ant Smith on Twitter it’s great to see the passion that comes from running smaller clubs trying to compete with those of a higher budget and for any club to still be in business this season after the lack of income and indeed the fiasco that became the grants/no grants mess across the National League, you’ve got to tip your hat to these people to keep everything ticking over.
From reading and following it was a very difficult decision not to vote to continue the season, each club in my opinion protected their own interests which should be the case and I know from seeing that Ant didn’t have an easy decision to make in order to protect the football club he currently presides over.
No doubt the game plan is going be not to concede an early goal, to be in the game as long as you can be and hope that fitness barrier doesn’t hit too hard when it inevitably will come after so long without games and against competitive full time professionals.
But I’m going to stick my neck out and if the Beachboys can start well, sustain the pressure when it comes and nick a goal, every chance the Trophy will head back to Essex, at least for a few weeks…….