Hebburn Town boss Kevin Bolam has this message for fans with club 90 minutes from Wembley final
The Hornets will be backed by 150 supporters when they make the long trip to Kent to face Southern Counties East League Premier Division side Corinthian FC in the semi-final of the FA Vase.
Saturday’s game marks a new high point for Hebburn as they compete in the last four of a competition synonymous with Northern League success for the first time in their history.
Their hopes of walking out at Wembley later this month looked to have been dashed by the coronavirus epidemic – but the Football Association delivered on their promise to do everything within their power to play last season’s competition to a close.
That means that Bolam’s men will make the 587-mile round trip with one eye on writing their names into the history books and giving their travelling band of support something to celebrate on Saturday night.
Bolam told the Gazette: “It’s brilliant to see the supporters making such a long journey with us and I think we could have probably trebled the tickets that we sold.
“There is a good buzz around the place at the moment and we have to build on that throughout the season because it’s going to be a tough one.
“We now have the reality of a massive game ahead of us, but with that comes a massive opportunity to do something very special.
“We aren’t shouting from the rooftops, nothing has been achieved yet, far from it, we have a job to do.
“We can’t think of what is beyond this tie and this tie alone.
“We focus on that, do everything we can to get the job done and hopefully our supporters can help us do that.”
Bolam admitted that he has had sleepless nights ever since his side claimed their place in the semi-final with a 2-0 home win against Plymouth Parkway way back in February.
The Hornets boss has come a long way after stepping up from managing the club’s reserve side to the Wearside League to taking over as first-team manager in May 2019.
Saturday’s semi-final offers Bolam a chance to draw a line under his first season in charge with a Wembley appearance – and he explained just what that would
mean to him.
“Of course, there are nerves, but they are excited nerves and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the game.
“I’ve made notes of little ideas at ridiculous times really, but hopefully it’ll all pay off with a big performance on the pitch on Saturday.”
The winners will meet either Western League club Bitton or Hebburn’s Northern League Division One rivals Consett in the final.
The Steelmen are boosted by the news that striker Dale Pearson has recovered from a hamstring injury that threatened his involvement in the tie.
That news means that manager Terry Mitchell has a full squad available.
Should both North East sides progress, they would set up the first all-Northern League Vase Final since Dunston UTS’ 2-0 win against West Auckland Town in 2012.