When Wythenshawe Amateurs step out onto the field this evening, they will be making history. For the first time in their history, they will be playing in the oldest cup competition in England as they take on Shelley in the FA Cup.
“We are very excited,” said David Broadbent, the clubs commercial manager, “as a club, we’ve been going 74 years and this feels like the next milestone in our history. We moved to a new home 3 years ago and a lot of work has gone into getting the club ready for the next level and the FA Cup is a huge part of this for us.”
The Ammies were one of 20 teams making their debut in the competition. Although he had only been in his role at the club for 6 months, he knew exactly what it meant to the team. “Aside from being our first ever FA Cup game, it’s also our first ever all ticket game. We’ve also had a number of press requests as well as having to implement the new guidelines for supporters attending. We’ve put a lot of work in behind the scenes to get the ground and the club ready, so it’s fair to say there’s a lot going though our minds.”
Shelley FC, playing in the North West Counties Division One North, compare to Wythenshawe’s South Division, are also entering their first ever FA Cup. “It will be the first time we’ve ever faced Shelley. We know they play a similar standard to us and that they had a good season last year towards the top of their league. We are expecting a very tough game that could go either way.”
The Ammies were 11th when the season was voided last season but they had plenty of games in hand over the teams above. They had four games in hand over Maine Road and sat only four points behind them. “We started slowly last season but as the year turned, so did our form. We won 6 out of 8 before the season was curtailed and were in mid-table but on a good run of form. It’s been a long lay off but we’re hoping to pick up where we left off!”
The club found out they had a place in the FA Cup when the FA published their acceptance list. Listed between Wycombe Wanderers and Yate Town, sat Wythenshawe Amateurs. “Everyone at the club was delighted [when we were accepted]. We have a number of ‘Ultras’, some of whom have been involved for 70 years and you could see what it meant to them. It’s been the main topic of conversation since the draw. For me personally, I love the FA Cup and it’s fantastic for everyone connected with the club to be in it!”
Whilst it was their first entry, the club were certainly hoping to make the next round, although they were just happy to be involved. “Honestly, I know its a cliche but we’re happy to be involved. It would be fantastic to get past Shelley as the next round would be another home tie against Trafford, who are pretty local to us. This would ensure another sell out and raising the profile of the club as we look to grow!”