It’s not all about the money for Emley AFC as they go into their biggest game in 25 years.
The Pewits are the lowest ranked side left in the FA Cup and go to National League North club Alfreton Town in the 3rd qualifying round.
Emley’s winning run in both the FA Cup and FA Vase has been worth well over £10,000 to the club and a win in Derbyshire on Saturday (September 30) will earn £5,625 in prize money. Even if Emley lose there will be £1,875 coming their way.
Chairman Andrew Painten said: “While the prize money is very welcome I would rather go and win. The prize money is a bonus.
“We want to continue to progress both on and off the field but we won’t be going out and splurging on a big transfer. We also need to invest in our facilities and we’re always wanting to improve our match day experience for the supporters.”
If Emley beat Alfreton – who are just two divisions below the Football League – it will only be the second time this century that Emley have reached the 4th qualifying round, and that’s just one match from the 1st round proper.
And the 1st round proper is when the prize money starts to get serious – £41,000 for the winner.
Andrew is dreaming of the glory rather than the money in what he describes as “one of the most prestigious cup competitions in the entire world.”
“We are only a tiny village between Huddersfield and Wakefield but we could really make a name for ourselves,” he said.
Boss Richard Tracey, meanwhile, has had a full week to prepare his players after Thackley and the league allowed Emley to postpone Tuesday night’s game.
“It’s been great to have two sessions to allow recovery and plan for Saturday and a huge thank you to Thackley and the NCEL for giving us this time,” he said.
Richard played under Alfreton manager Billy Heath but he hasn’t spoken to him in the run-up to the game and will catch up with him on Saturday night.
“Billy is a fiercely loyal manager to his players but demands you earn that loyalty through hard work and performing well and we know it’ll be a tough game,” said Richard.
“They get the ball forward quickly with purpose and deliver into the box relentlessly and we’re going to have to be strong and organised to deal with that but we must also be excellent in picking up second balls.”
Emley are very much the underdogs and no-one is getting carried away.
Richard added: “We’ve kept it calm around the training ground and the pressure is off as everyone expects Alfreton to win so we can go and hopefully play without any fear.
“It would be great to get them back to the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Tuesday.”
Emley have already knocked two higher ranked clubs out of the cup. They lost their first match in the competition but were reinstated when opponents Avro were found to be fielded an ineligible player.
It’s 25 years since Emley’s part-timers narrowly lost 2-1 at Premier League club West Ham in the third round.
Main image: MARK PARSONS