Saturday promises to be the biggest day in Hollands & Blair FC’s 46-year history, but the man considered the heartbeat of the club will not have a chance to watch the action as the side play in The Emirates FA Cup for the very first time.
Club secretary Laurence Plummer has done everything from making tea to helping attract new players, but a golf trip to Spain means he will be forced to anxiously wait for his phone to buzz with updates on the extra preliminary round tie with Horsham YMCA.
Horsham YMCA v Hollands & Blair
The Emirates FA Cup
Extra Preliminary Round
3pm, Saturday 6 August 2016
Gorings Mead, Horsham
By Ross Lawson
Some of those reports will come from manager Bryan Greenfield, who steps into the role following ten years as a player with the club.
And Greenfield has some sympathy for Plummer, admitting it does not get bigger than what is to come on Saturday.
"It’s a massive day for the club, people have put a lot of hard work in behind the scenes over the years and the club has come a long way in a short space of time," said Greenfield, whose side were promoted to the Southern Counties East Football League last season.
"Laurence has played it pretty cool on the outside, but on the inside he’s probably pretty gutted.
"He’s been around almost since the start, and days like Saturday are there for us to celebrate all the work people like him put into the club.
"There was a banner of all the clubs who are in the competition, and to be able to see Hollands and Blair’s badge was fantastic for him.
"He’s a massive Liverpool fan, so all he wants is to get to the third round and make a trip to Anfield!"
FA Cup history
Saturday will be Hollands & Blair FC’s first taste of Emirates FA Cup football.
Horsham YMCA reached the fourth qualifying round in the 1999-00 campaign, beating Godalming & Guildford, Cray Wanderers, Corinthian Casuals and Herne Bay. The YM’s run ended with a 3-2 defeat to Chelmsford City.
Did you know?
Playing their home games at Star Meadow, Hollands & Blair FC recorded their highest-ever home attendance in their penultimate game of last season, when 405 people came to watch their 0-0 draw with Greenwich Borough.
In 1999-00, Horsham YMCA reached the fourth round of The FA Vase, scoring 13 goals in their first three games before losing to AFC Totton.
One to watch
"In these situations you look towards your strikers: James McDonald and Rob Denness,” said Hollands & Blair boss Greenfield.
"They’re the focal point of our attack, they work for one another and everyone else all over the pitch. There aren’t any superstars within our team, we’re all very level-headed and grounded, a workmanlike team and that’s what we’ll thrive upon."
The winning club will pocket £1500 and progress to the preliminary round to host Isthmian League side Whyteleafe, the first club of Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew.