‘Road To Wembley’ visitors at The Walks for FA Cup clash

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Sport news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk/sport, @lynnnewssport on Twitter
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Two sets of visitors on a Road To Wembley-style trek will be gracing The Walks this Saturday for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie between King’s Lynn Town FC and AFC Fylde.

Firstly, the club are pleased to announce that SweetFA (Malcolm Larkin, Mac Crawford and Pete Hind) will be guests of the club and the Friends of The Linnets at Saturday’s FA Cup tie with AFC Fylde.

The group explained: “It started at Sam Smith Park, home to Northern League side Newcastle Benfield and so far has seen us pitch up at Buxton Town FC and our last game AFC Fylde.

“Ultimately it will end at Wembley Stadium as we are following the winners of each round all the way to the final. This week we are visiting Kings Lynn Town FC vs AFC Fylde (the winners of our last game!)

“The idea came to fruition towards the end of last season when we were discussing the fact none of us had been to a cup final.

“We weren’t going to a 30,000 or 50,000 capacity state of the art stadia, we were off to Sam Smiths Park in Newcastle. The attendance that day was 85.

“Luckily, starting the journey we decided we would pick a local team to begin with and then after that who knows where we’d end up. Benfield won their first three games in the cup all at home and then we were off on our first road trip to visit Buxton FC.

“We are doing all of this in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. For those who don’t know the foundation cancer research charity which raises money to fund the early detection and treatment of cancer, and clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs.

“Based in the North East of England, the Foundation was launched on 25 March 2008 in the name of Sir Bobby Robson, himself a cancer sufferer five times since 1992, and who died of the disease on 31 July 2009.

“Since the first away trip to Buxton we went to the last round which was Buxton FC at AFC Fylde who won 1-0.

“We are paying for any travel, tickets etc ourselves. Anything we raise goes directly to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“We hope as the cup progresses and more people find out about what we are doing then the more money we can raise. There isn’t a target as such, I would like to think we can at least match whatever layout we put into the journey.

“You can follow us on twitter @sweetfacup and donate at http://www.justgiving.com/sweetfacup or text 70070 and add FACP76 £amount to the text field.”

Secondly, Chris Pratt is a sports researcher and reporter living in the North West. He is following the FA Cup from the first qualifying round to Wembley, following one club until they are knocked out and latching onto the victors.

He said: “It was October 1999 that I first set foot on King’s Lynn soil, to start my first ‘proper’ job at The College of West Anglia. Prior to that I had lived in Manchester all of my life followed by three years in Liverpool at university.

“The flatness of the landscape and the accent were both a surprise to me all those years ago! When I left in 2002, I’d had some amazing years, worked with some great people and made some great friends, some of whom I hope will be reading this column.

“King’s Lynn and West Norfolk made me feel very welcome. After all I met my wife here, got married here and was introduced to non-league football. The ‘other’ love of my life.

“I had moved into a bedsit opposite the College on Tennyson Ave and knew not a soul for 150 miles. So it seemed logical that my first stop would be the football club I’d noticed on my way in.

“With it only being a short walk away my first game was King’s Lynn vs Margate on 23rd November 1999, a 0-0 draw. After that I was hooked, why wouldn’t I be! I barely missed a home game for the next few years.

“Names like Rowland, Robinson and Nwadike rolled off the tongue, and Gary Mills, when he was on the pitch was deadly from the edge of the penalty area.

“After I left Lynn no other non-league clubs have gripped me as much as they have and I have followed them from afar since.

“A trip to the home game vs Oldham Athletic in the second round of the FA Cup in 2006 was amazing, seeing the ground so full gave me goosebumps.

“I tuned into BBC Radio Norfolk for the crucial game vs Merthyr Tydfil in 2007/08 and was delighted when they ended up in the Conference North the next season, allowing me to watch them in the North West on away days. The progress of the reborn King’s Lynn Town has delighted me.

“So it was fate when my personal Road To Wembley, sent me back to the town where I spent a few great years. This season I had started at Buxton FC, defected to AFC Fylde and am now back in Lynn. I’m Looking forward to what should be a great game.”

Chris writes for another-league.co.uk and threeoclockkickoff.com

A preview of the match will be in Friday’s Lynn News.