the real fa cup

Breakfast At Emley’s

Emley 7-1 Parkgate – The Welfare Ground
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, Sunday 16th August 2015

“Did I tell you I used to play here?” Dave Hartrick seems to be suffering from dementia as he tells us that for the third time in a matter of the seven minutes since we walked through the turnstiles at The Welfare Ground in Emley.

It promised to be a long afternoon, one I could only counteract by giving him details of my trip to the Playboy Mansion (I’ve actually been there twice but I don’t like to talk about it). Non-League Day’s own Mike Bayly was certainly going to have a fun afternoon trying to keep our “banter” under control.

Let me start again.  Welcome to the 2015/16 FA Cup sponsored by Emirates. Yep, the FA had woken up to the fact that having a beer sponsoring the world’s oldest and most revered cup competition wasn’t the best idea when you can’t drink alcohol within sight of the pitch even at places like The Welfare Ground, Emley.

But a Middle Eastern airline is another story. Brand synergy and all that. Some consultants will have done very well creating marketing slogans, powerpoint presentations and pie charts to show this was exactly what the competition needed.

At the lowest level of the FA Cup entry, which is what this round is, it isn’t about branding – which is a good job because it seemed that someone from Emirates had forgotten to turn up and put their branding around the ground – it is about the money. If AFC Emley can overcome visitors Parkgate they would be £1,500 better off. Putting that into context that is the equivalent of 250 extra people coming through the gates of the Welfare Ground. Win in the next round and it is another 320 paying fans. That’s a significant boost to the budget for the club. If Arsenal win their first two games in the competition, they would earn £157,500 this season, which would roughly pay the wages of one of their benchwarmers for a week.

Not that any die-hard Emley fans will need reminding of THAT game at The Boleyn Ground nearly eighteen years ago where for near half the game the team known as Emley AFC held Premier League West Ham before losing 2-1.

Few Non-League fans will experience such a cup run, and whilst things went downhill for the club from there, once you have done it once you are addicted and want another taste of going on an amazing cup run.

The prize for the winners would be a trip to West Lancashire to take on Burscough. The prize for the winner of the raffle was a “Do-It-Yourself” breakfast kit that contained five different types of meat, and a tomato for the vegetarians. Second prize, four cans of Guinness.

To be fair winning that would be a serious kick in the teeth after seeing what was on offer for first prize. The fun didn’t stop there. One English pound for pie, peas, gravy and mint sauce. One English Pound for a “Real” sausage hot dog (“none of that lips and hips in this one darling…but if you ask nicely ;-)”. Come half-time they would be queuing round the dugouts for those.

The Welfare Ground is a three-sided affair, with the cricket pitch forming the fourth side, similar to the old County Ground at Northampton (for those old enough to remember that) or even Bramall Lane (for those who are very old to remember that) but that had no effect on the atmosphere as the locals appreciated every touch.

And they had a lot to appreciate here. Parkgate were well and truly stuffed. Despite plying their trade in the division above, the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division no less, they will want to erase this game from their memories pretty quickly. They had a number of key players missing due to work (members of the clergy perhaps?) but even so when the fourth goal went in just after half-time, they looked spent.

Emley’s Ash Flynn scored the quickest FA Cup hatrick in the Kirklees District ever*, perhaps even further afield, when he bagged three goals in seven first half minutes. He added a fourth, missed by those in the pie, peas, gravy and mint sauce queue just after half time, then sat on his bum for the fifth as play continued around him.

Goals six and seven were double icing on an already very good looking cake, with man of the match (and perhaps soon to be whisked down to Lewes FC) Jordan Coduri scoring one and setting up virtually everything else.  I’m sure if he had bought a ticket for the raffle, he would have won.

Emley’s reward is a trip to West Lancashire to take on Burscough.  Parkgate’s penance is having to watch Reading v Leeds United in full, twice.  That’ll soon teach ’em.

*Probably – as I cannot find any information to the contrary I will assume he holds the record until someone else claims it.

Words & Pictures: Chairman Fuller, All-Seeing-Overlord-At-Lewes-FC and award winning everything @theballisround. (He asked us to write that*)

*He didn’t really.

  1. Thanks for coming to see us and taking the time to write up your visit. Glad you enjoyed the day – we certainly did! – and keep spreading the word about our good value grub and famous raffle.

    Loved the line about Jordan Corduri!

  2. Thanks for bringing back the memories of a freezing (even by Yorkshire standards) cold night at the McAlpine Stadium as Emly beat Lincoln City on penalties in the 2nd Round replay in the run that took them to Upton Park. The match day programme has survived several culls of my collection And has now thawed out. (I might not admit it if pressed but I recall it was so cold that I might have borrowed a pair of my wife’s tights that night). I decided that I wouldn’t do my own cup run this season due to date clashes in the early rounds but now feel guilty for not making the effort for the EP round. I have no evidence to refute the fastest hat trick in Kirklees claim, but Jordan Rhodes did score a hat trick of headers in 8 minutes, beating a long standing record of Dixie Dean and receiving a trophy from the Football League for his trouble.

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