Sir Alex Ferguson’s 27-year association with Manchester United may seem almost unfathomable in today’s game, but Spennymoor Town boss Jason Ainsley is not far behind and he is gunning for more silverware in the FA Trophy.
The 45-year-old has spent over half his life at the Brewery Field, and in his 25 years at Spennymoor has graduated from player, to captain, to assistant manager, to coach, and finally to manager in 2006.
His eight seasons at the helm have yielded an astonishing 12 trophies for the up-and-coming County Durham outfit – including 2013’s FA Vase triumph at Wembley.
Evesham United v Spennymoor Town
Second round qualifying
3pm, Saturday 14 November
Winners receive £3,250 from The FA Prize Fund
A long away trip to Evesham United looms on Saturday in the FA Trophy, but with one league defeat all season to their name and 21 goals in their last four games, Ainsley is confident the trek south will not hamper their chances.
“We always want to do well in the Trophy, and we had a good run last year too, getting to the last qualifying round, so we’re keen to emulate that,” he said.
“The travel is tough – it’s a four-and-a-half hour trip – but it’s great to go to a team you’re not necessarily familiar with.
“The aspirations of our chairman are very high; we are extending our ground and the target when he joined was three promotions in five years.
“We won the FA Vase three years ago, which was a fantastic achievement at our level, and to see 9,000 Spennymoor fans at Wembley was brilliant."
He continued: “The Trophy is a competition we are excited about and we want to test ourselves against the best possible opposition, and we know we can compete at this level in one-off games.
“To bring revenue into the coffers is really important for the club, so we are desperate to progress.
“But Evesham will be a really tough test, and not one we are taking lightly, as we want to show people up and down the country that Spennymoor is an up-and-coming club.”
The Moors have provided free travel for their supporters for the 420-mile round trip to Evesham, who beat local rivals Redditch – a league above them in the pyramid – in the last round.
And Robins boss Paul Collicutt knows his men will face a stern test in Spennymoor.
He said: “To any non-league club the FA Trophy is obviously worth a lot financially, and everyone wants to have a good run as it’s good for the supporters and players.
“Spennymoor will be a club with a big passion for the game and they will come and give it their best shot”
Paul Collicutt Evesham manager
"Especially when you have the carrot of Wembley waiting.
“Coming from the North, Spennymoor will be a club with a big passion for the game and they will come and give it their best shot.
“I’m really looking forward to the game, but the thought of having to go up to Spennymoor on Tuesday night is in my mind and we’ll be taking a good look at how we go about the game in training.
“We want to win and will try our utmost to do so. The journey here doesn’t help them, but they are a very good club who have had success in recent years, winning the FA Vase.
“They are going in the right direction – and I think it is fantastic for their chairman to offer free travel for their supporters. They have two coaches full of people coming and that is down to him.”