FA Cup journey ready to begin

Andy Fury and MarkTearney
Andy Fury and MarkTearney

Whitby Town kick off their FA Cup trail on Saturday (14 Sep) - and opponents West Auckland Town can claim to be the first World Cup winners.

The County Durham side are unbeaten in the First Division of the Northern League and despite playing two levels below the Blues, will provide formidable opposition.

West twice won the first-known international football tournament, The Thomas Lipton Trophy, in 1909 and 1911, beating the likes of Stuttgart and Juventus in the process.

A TV film, starring Dennis Waterman, was made in 1982, showcasing the club’s amazing achievements.

However, despite Tea-magnate Lipton allowing West to keep the cup, after their second success, the trophy was stolen in 1994 and has never been found.

Whitby Town boss Darren Williams is under no illusions about the task ahead but knows a good cup run for his side will generate a feelgood factor.

“West Auckland are a good side and we’ve had a couple of reports from their last two games,” he said.

“Anything can happen so we need to stick to what we’re good at and approach the game in the right manner.

“We’re looking forward to the game and the lads are eager to move on to the next round.

“Everyone wants to go as far as they can, especially in the FA Cup – it gives an extra buzz around the ground.”

Whitby should have a full squad available for the tie which will be no easy ask – already this season, County Durham side West Auckland have beaten title favourites Spennymoor and ended Marske United’s 100% record with a 2-2 draw at Mount Pleasant, on Tuesday night.

Peter Dixon’s men are full of strike power with the prolific John Campbell(24) having played Conference football for Darlington and the experienced Mattie Moffat, alongside him, netting a spectacular 116 goals in three seasons.

It will be the two clubs’ 105th meeting and their first since Whitby took the Northern League Championship with a 7-2 win at West, in April 1997.

The Seasiders are unbeaten in 16 games, against Auckland, since 1982. Overall the Blues have 52 victories to their opponents’ 31 – the clubs first met on Christmas Day 1934, when West won 3-0 at the Turnbull Ground.

Kick-off at the Turnbull, on Saturday, is the usual 3pm. If scores are level, a replay will take place at West’s Seagrave Stadium, on Tuesday (17 Sep) at 7.45pm, otherwsie the Blues travel to FC United of Manchester in the EvoStik League, with a supporters’ bus due to leave at 2.30pm.

* Football fans Andy Fury and Mark Tearney of Cup Runnings will arrive at Whitby as part of their epic nine-month journey to the FA Cup final.

The duo intend to follow the winner of each game they see in every round of the tournament all the way to the Wembley final in May. Their exploits are being recorded after each match in podcasts and a photo-blog at www.cuprunnings.com

Civil servant Mark said: “We decided to do Cup Runnings to rediscover our passion for the game and it’s been great to see some football that’s got some heart to it; I’m sure that will continue at Whitby.”