Tag: Wembley

Next Years FA Cup May Leave A Nasty Taste In The Mouth

Over the last few years, we have come to worry more than a little about the well-being of the FA Cup. Semi-finals at Wembley Stadium, falling television audiences for the final and dwindling crowds for matches involving Premier League clubs have all taken their toll on this most venerable of sporting institutions, but at least we can console ourselves with the fact that it still has a grip over the smaller clubs that enter it. The FA Cup still carries the potency to be able to thrust smaller clubs into the spotlight for a brief period of time, and its appeal to the very – and, considering the origins of the word, somewhat ironic – English love of schadenfreude. When the smaller clubs start to become affected by it all, though, we have to start wondering whether it is worth continuing to support. All of this brings us quite tidily to the small matter of Wembley Football Club. This is a club with a unique attachment to the competition. It remains the club that is the lazy option for television companies and hacks looking for an angle to shine upon the early rounds of the competition on account of its name alone and has featured in the national media on more than one occasion in spite of the fact that it is more than thirty years since it made...

Read More

Match Of The Week Meets The FA Cup: Ascot United 1-2 Wembley

The story of how this evening’s match between Ascot United and Wembley FC has come to be shown live via the medium of Facebook thanks to the tournament’s sponsors, Budweiser, has, it could well be argued, had a positive effect for all concerned. The Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup – and, in turn, the tournament itself – has received a shot of publicity for a stage of the competition that usually receives next to none. The sponsors, meanwhile, have aligned themselves with what even the purest of purists might call “The romance of the Cup”, and the match itself, with local interest having been piqued by the hullaballoo surrounding it, will now be played in front of a crowd of at least ten times the size of what might have been expected. This last point is, perhaps, the most significant. Ascot United play in the Hellenic League, but they run a draw-dropping fifty-five teams of all ages, and have seven hundred and fifty registered players. This labyrinthine organisation is run by just over one hundred volunteers, of whom eighty have FA coaching certificates. This is grassroots football at its rootsiest. Furthermore, it’s an idiosyncratic venue for a football match. One could be tempted to look at the ground name of Ascot Racecourse and wonder whether this is some sort of pun but, sure enough, there is the...

Read More