AN ambitious pair of football fan friends are still up for the FA Cup – after clocking up hundreds of miles on the road to Wembley.
Hebburn comedian Andy Fury and pal Mark Tierney, from Gateshead, are following the famous tournament from its first kick to its last in an epic nine-month journey.
The long and winding trip to the final started with Northern League team West Auckland’s 5-0 thumping of Tow Law back in August, followed by the County Durham outfit’s 4-2 victory over Harrogate Railway after a replay, another replay win against Whitby Town and a 5-0 thumping of Skelmersdale United.
Now they will be taking in their seventh West Auckland Town clash – a tough trip to Conference North side Hednesford Town on Saturday in the FA Cup third qualifying round.
The idea – called Cup Runnings – was sparked after Andy and Mark watched Hebburn take on Gateshead in a qualifying round cup clash two years ago.
Their cup exploits are being recorded in podcasts and a photo-blog on their website while a book chronicling their experiences is set to follow.
Mr Fury, 30, said: “It feels like I’ve spent more time with the people at West Auckland than I have with my own girlfriend.”
While the duo have a soft spot for West Auckland Town, they have been impressed by the hospitality already afforded to them by Hednesford Town.
Mr Fury said: “Hednesford Town have already been really good.
“We e-mailed them to explain that we would be coming up for the game and they replied asking us to come up early, so they would give us a tour of the club.
“We are happy to go wherever the FA Cup road takes us.
“Hednesford will be a three-and-a-half hour drive.”
You can follow Andy and Mark’s journey by visiting www.cuprunnings.com