Hear from some of the teams who are making their Emirates FA Cup debuts this week

Tuesday 01 Sep 2020
Newent Town are one of the clubs who will be making their Emirates FA Cup debut this week

Barely a month has passed since Arsenal lifted the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley Stadium but the 2020-21 season is already fast approaching for the 368 teams taking part in the competition.

Of those, there are 20 teams making their debut in the competition and will enter at the 184-tie extra preliminary round, which kicks-off this week.

The draw, which is broken down into geographical locations, will see six of the newcomers play one another, all with the incentive of £1,125 in prize money for the winners.


Winners will also go into the preliminary round, which takes place on Saturday 12 September where the 80 teams who are successful will earn £1,444 and head into the first round qualifying.

The full list of round dates for the 2020-21 Emirates FA Cup campaign can be found here, with details of this season's prize fund here.

The new Emirates FA Cup campaign is already underway across the country

Here’s what a handful of the newcomers had to say about entering the Emirates FA Cup for the very first time...

Park View FC v Hashtag United

One of the most eye-catching fixtures on the list has to be the meeting between Hashtag United and Park View FC, both of whom are new to the competition this year.

The Tags were only founded back in 2016 and didn’t enter the football pyramid as an official outfit until the 2018-19 season, when they joined the Eastern Counties League, before earning promotion to the Essex Senior Football League.

Now the team, that was founded by YouTube personality Spencer Owen and is managed by the more experienced head of Jay Devereux, is taking on a whole new challenge in 2020.

“It’s pretty surreal really, from building the team to have an online presence, growing a global audience and then turning that into an affiliated football team is a massive achievement,” said Devereux.

“We've been on a journey that seems to consistently involve playing in the ‘biggest game in our history’ and now taking part in the oldest domestic competition in the world is going to be exactly that.

“It'll actually be our first game of the season and we haven’t played a competitive game since March but we'll be giving it everything and hoping to get through to the next round.”

Hashtag United take on Park View in their Emirates FA Cup debut

The Tags will travel to Wood Green in Tottenham to face Park View, who were formed in 1991 by a group of friends wishing to get into Sunday League football and have progressed from there.

“With the FA Cup being such a famous and unique competition in England and indeed the world, we're obviously excited to be part of it,” said manager Ray Dadzie.

“I've been lucky to be part of the FA Cup as a coach, however this will be my first as a manager so I'm looking forward to what it brings.

“It's been a difficult year for everyone and it's great to have football back on and it'll be the perfect start to the season if everything we've been working on last few weeks comes together in the performance and we manage to get the right results as well.”

Odd Down v Helston Athletic

Helston were on a run of 25 wins from 26 games when last season was curtailed and looked destined for the Emirates FA Cup regardless, so the Blues will have been relieved to see their names pulled out of the hat for the 2020-21 competition.

The south west side are managed by former Stockport County, Bournemouth and Northampton Town striker Steve Massey who has vast experience playing in the competition and has been involved in Cornish football ever since taking his first managerial job at Truro City in 1992.

To take Helston into the Cup for the first time will be a historic occasion for the 62-year-old but also one made more special by overcoming serious health concerns in the last few years.

Helstpn Athletic boss Steve Massey (right) is taking the club into their first FA Cup tie in the 2020 extra preliminary round

“Three years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I thought: ‘wow, if I don’t do this now then I am going to regret it’ so I took the job and we’ve come so far since then - now we’re playing in the FA Cup,” said Massey.

“I lost two very close friends, who were also my assistant managers, to prostate cancer and that scared the hell out of me and we got ridiculed when we first started here and announced our ‘2020 vision’.

“Luckily I’m able to say that I'm healthy now but you never know how long you’re going to be around and I’m able to enjoy my lifelong hobby as a profession.” 

New Salamis v Colney Heath

North London side New Salamis will be dedicating their first ever appearance in football’s oldest competition to their former chairman Kyri Spyri, who passed away in May last year.

Spyri was with the team when they won the FA Sunday Cup in 2016, beating Barnes on penalties in the final at Selhurst Park, but sadly lost a long battle with cancer.

The Greek-Cypriot side will now have another opportunity to honour Spyri when they travel to Hertfordshire to take on Colney Heath.

Assistant manager Andrew Kouroushi said: “We'll be playing in honour of Kyri, who was a driving force behind this club for years. Whenever we play, we play in his honour.

“We were gunning for promotion and sadly that wasn’t to be in the end, but we're over the moon to be selected for the competition this year and really looking forward to it.

“The club has a history in FA competitions too as we won the FA Sunday Cup in 2016 and we got to the Final the year after that too so we're hoping that puts us in good stead for the challenge.”

The New Salamis celebrate their victory in the FA Sunday Cup back in 2016

Burton Park Wanderers v AFC Sudbury

Northamptonshire outfit Burton Park Wanderers will have the privilege of being the first televised game on the BBC this season, when they take on AFC Sudbury at their home ground of Latimer Park.

The game will be broadcast live on the BBC Sport website, iPlayer and Red Button when it kicks off at 7.45pm BST on Tuesday 1 September.

“It’s fantastic for us but it’s a shame about the draw for us because we're playing AFC Sudbury and they are well above us but this is the FA Cup and we have nothing to lose,” said club secretary Dave Borrett.

“Luckily for us football isn’t played on paper so we are really excited about it.

“The manager, James Logan, has only been here for one season and it was one of the best seasons the club has ever had, so he has come in and done a brilliant job.

“He brought the majority of the players along with him, gelled in a few extras and put together a great team here so we are really excited about next season.” 

Cribbs v Newent Town

Newent Town aka ‘The Daffs’ will be entering their 101st year in style as they make their bow in the Emirates FA Cup this season.

The Gloucestershire side have been drawn away at Cribbs but if they're able to navigate that they'll have their first ever home tie against Berkhamsted to look forward to.

Club secretary Phil Clarke said: “I’ve been player, manager, committee member and now secretary for this football club but I first got involved just by driving past and then playing a game.

“I went down the list when it came out and then plucked up the courage to go through it alphabetically and there we were.

“It’s going to be a fantastic trip for us because it is our 101st year as a club and playing in the competition is something we’ve always talked about and now here we are.”

Wythenshawe Amateurs v Shelley

Shelley manager Ash Berry is no stranger to the competition, having managed the likes of Bridlington Town, Woodley Sports and Salford City in the Northern Premier League.

But he says leading his home club, where his first involvement was as a teenager and where he's been manger since 2009, in their first match in the competition will be extra special.

“We were playing in the Huddersfield and District League when I took over, and the plan was to move up the non-League ladder while building the club as a whole and developing our ground, the Stafflex Arena,” he said.

“We moved into the West Yorkshire League in 2011, then in 2018, the North West Counties, which enabled us to play in the Buildbase FA Vase.

“Playing in the FA Cup is another significant step and a long-held ambition, so it’s great to be involved.”

Other fixtures* involving competition debutants taking place this week are as follows:-

Wells City v Bovey Tracey
Alfold v Shoreham
Brantham Athletic v Benfleet
Billingshurt v Westside
Chelmsley Town v Shifnal Town
Kennington v Erith & Belvedere
Saffron Walden Town v Little Oakley
Clanfield v Long Crendon
Millbrook v Bridgwater Town
Newark Flowserve v Deeping Rangers
Billingshurst v Westside
Stansfeld v Punjab United (7.45pm, Wednesday 2 September)

*All games scheduled for Tuesday 1 September at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated

By Tom Dean