Club hats and scarves are a sell-out, while businesses show their support in window displays

Members of Morpeth Town Team with club players, officials and supporters at the Market Place stall. Picture by Trevor Walker.
Members of Morpeth Town Team with club players, officials and supporters at the Market Place stall. Picture by Trevor Walker.
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Football commentators and pundits can be notoriously over zealous in the use of flowery language to describe the game, with “spectacular”, “fantastic”, “terrific” being just some of the adjectives they liberally sprinkle their comments with in their live commentaries or post-match studio summings-up.

Just occasionally, however, one of those football ‘moments’ crop up that allow writers to justifiably dust down their big book of adjectives and slot a few superlatives into their reports.

Morpeth Town FC v Bowers and Pitsea in the FA Vase
Picture by Jane Coltman

Morpeth Town FC v Bowers and Pitsea in the FA Vase Picture by Jane Coltman

And right now Morpeth is enjoying one of those ‘moments’.

Everyone must know by now that Morpeth Town has achieved the unbelievable and made it through to a Wembley cup final.

On the Richter scale of achievements, what the players, officials, fans and supporters have done this year is completely off the map.

It is no exaggeration to say that it is a spectacular — there’s that word again — achievement to get through to the FA Vase final against Hereford FC at Wembley on Sunday, May 22.

It is going to be the best day of our footballing lives and we can’t wait for it to arrive.

Karl Dryden

And, of course, the whole town wishes the players and club well in their bid to bring the cup back to Morpeth.

If they can do that, it will be a stellar achievement.

More than 500 little clubs set off down the road to Wembley at the start of last season, but just the two have made it to the home of football for the biggest match in their history.

Clubs that exist on a shoe-string compared to the wealth of the big boys of the Premier League can only dream of getting to Wembley.

Week-in and week-out, clubs outside the football league structure survive because their supporters and fans willingly do the thousand and one things needed to make sure they keep going.

They take on tasks such as looking after the pitch and preparing it for match days, making the teas, coffees and hot dogs for the fans, and selling the raffle tickets that bring in much-needed revenue.

For these clubs, their players aren’t on the sort of mega weekly wages earned by the Premiership stars that would keep a small club going for years.

So to get to Wembley is something the little clubs can only dream about — and for a few like Morpeth, that dream sometimes comes true.

Ken Beattie, who has been associated with the club for 47 years as a player and now its chairman, says he can still scarcely believe Morpeth will have its day-of-a-lifetime in just over three weeks time.

Since the semi-final win over Essex side Bowers and Pitsea that booked their place at Wembley, Ken and his team have been working almost non-stop making the arrangements for their big day out.

They have been hard at work sorting out tickets, booking the buses that will take supporters down to London, and ordering the souvenir scarves, hats and replica amber and black shirts.

Oh and, of course, the team has had to finish the job of completing the backlog of Northern League fixtures they have got to get through before the season ends.

Any support they can get to celebrate their marvellous run of success is being gratefully accepted.

And Morpeth Town Team, which is made up of representatives from Morpeth Town Council, the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade, the Greater Morpeth Development Trust, Sanderson Arcade and Inside Morpeth magazine, has stepped in with some offers of help.

Last Saturday, for instance, we arranged a stall in the Market Place so that local people could not only meet some of the players and officials to offer their congratulations on getting to Wembley, but also purchase hats and scarves, as well as order special Vase final replica shirts, and order tickets for the game itself.

Goalkeeper Karl Dryden, who was one of the players present, told me the team were not only overwhelmed about reaching Wembley, but also by the support they are receiving from townspeople.

“It is going to be the best day of our footballing lives and we can’t wait for it to arrive,” he said.

“Knowing we have the support of local people like this is so important to us.”

The Market Place event was such a success that the club sold out its hats and scarves.

But fear not, we are going to arrange another stall at the Morpeth Farmers’ Market on Saturday, May 7 to give local people a second chance to show their support for the team.

The Town Team has also had posters printed, proclaiming the club’s success, and this week we have been asking local shops and businesses to put in their windows.

At the same time, we are inviting traders and business people to take part in a best dressed window competition to deck the town out in the club colours in the run-up to the final.

And whatever the outcome of the final, we are arranging for Morpeth Town players to lead the popular parade of veteran cars and Harley Davidson motorcycles through the town — no doubt to a rapturous reception — on the Chamber of Trade’s Fair Day on Sunday, June 12, in an open-top bus.

They will then be invited into the Town Hall for a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Morpeth.

Ken Beattie says that he is hoping around 3,000 fans will be at Wembley to cheer on the team.

On Fair Day ten times that number could be lining the streets to welcome the team back to Morpeth — hopefully showing off the FA Vase trophy to the crowds.