(Photo: The FA)
IAN LONG knows the FA Cup can really put Alvechurch on the map.
The Step 4 new boys start on their road to Wembley this weekend when they take on Hanley Town at home in the preliminary round.
Cup magic has already touched the EVO-STIK South club in the past. They are in the competitions folklore for taking part in the longest ever tie in 1971-72.
It took five replays against Oxford City before a winner was eventually decided and the Church made it to the first round proper.
The Football Association sent the trophy to the Midland League champions this week and boss Long wants to make more memories.
“I was talking with the chairman on the coach back from Gresley the other night,” Long told The NLP. “We said, ‘What would you prefer this season, a good Cup run or promotion?’ A Cup run can really put your club on the map can’t it?
“You look at what Stourbridge have done in the Cup in recent years and their gates have trebled. So it’s tempting to go for the FA Cup even though the league is equally important. It can really put your club on the map and if you get a decent tie and keep hold of the support it can really help move the club in the right direction.
“I was envious of Westfields last year. They got a lot of attention and spotlight. It’s great for the club to have the FA Cup down here and all the focus with the famous long-tie back in the 70s. There would be a bit of a fixture backlog these days!”
Summer signing Ash Carter, 21, was part of the Kidderminster Harriers side that reached the first round proper last season where they lost to Blackpool 2-0.
He said: “It was a good experience. It was obviously disappointing to lose but it was great to play at Blackpool and be a part of it.
“It would be good to do something at Alvechurch. Everyone is talking about it, there’s a real buzz about us.
“It’s massive for clubs at this level. There’s prize money and you get bigger crowds. It’s great but we know we’ve got a tough game.”
Don’t miss Sunday’s NLP for comprehensive coverage of the preliminary round matches plus we speak to Derrick Davies – a member of Alvechurch’s historic FA Cup side.