Newent Town will make history tonight as they feature in the FA Cup for the first time ever. The Hellenic League Division One West side will face Cribbs FC of the Western League, away from home.
There is no doubt they are excited about the opportunity to feature in the world’s oldest cup competition. “It’s very exciting. When judging it on a scale of 1-10, I’d say 13,” said Club Secretary Phil Clarke, “This is why God made football.”
A lot will be going through the minds of those involved with the club; nerves and excitement were just two. “All sorts [is going through my mind]. They are a higher level than us but we must compete on all levels.”
Levels in the FA Cup didn’t always matter with plenty of lower level teams beating their strongest opponents throughout the years. Maldon & Tiptree did that against League Two Leyton Orient. “We don’t know a lot about our opponents,” he said. “but the Western League is tough and we are a level below that.”
Newent had found themselves second from bottom last season on 9 points, with just New College Swindon below them and an 8-point gap. Although it wasn’t the best season, they were optimistic about the new season. “Last season wasn’t great. We played the best sides early on and struggled to pick up points. We did have a great win over Moreton over Christmas and made it to the 2nd Round of the FA Vase.”
When the acceptance list was published, Newent had found themselves below the mighty Newcastle United and just above Newhaven. “We received an email and we had to open it to find out. There we were alphabetically next to Newcastle United. Amazing!”
A big night for Newent will hopefully end in a win for them but for the club, they were just happy to experience their first game in the FA Cup. “The committee and management will raise a glass whatever happens on the pitch. We have come along way. But having won two league titles on the last day of the season in our recent past and cup finals. We are a team for big occasions.”