Maidenhead fans: We’re just happy to be here

By way of introduction to our FA Cup opponents, here are some extremely dedicated Maidenhead fans with their thoughts…

Our thanks to James Smith for asking the questions and recording the answers.

About the fans…

Steve Jinman – “I’m a 43 year-old teacher now living in West London. I grew up five minutes away from York Road. My great grandmother’s brother Gerry Richens played in goal for the club in the 1930’s. I’ve been home and away every week for 20 years, the programme editor for ten years, the matchday PA announcer for eight years a director for eight years. I’m an inveterate twitterer @educatedleftft and a sometime blogger ”

Neil Maskell – “My first real interest in Maidenhead United came as a bandwagon jumper, heading along to historic York Road on successive evenings in May 2000 as Maidenhead took the six points they needed at the end of a season of backlogged fixtures to claim promotion to the sixth tier of English football, the highest level we have played at. We have remained there ever since (barring one season) thanks to a very good record in the ‘AGM Cup’ (i.e. taking advantage of the misfortunes of other teams who have been forced to drop down the pyramid). I have now graduated from standing behind the goal to being entrusted with the microphone, reading out the PA announcements every home game!”

Mark Smith – “I’m the club historian. I started watching the team in March 1976.”

Maurice Cann – “I am the secretary of the Maidenhead United Supporters Association (MUSA), my first game was in October 1971 as a very bored six year old, I started attending on a more regular basis during the 1978/79 season.”

[Editor’s note – hats off to all four for what is clear is dedication beyond the call of duty to their side]

Sorry, we’ve not met before. Can you introduce to your club with some things Vale fans may not know?

We lay a strong claim to calling the oldest football ground in the world continuously used by the same club…

Steve Jinman We were original FA Cup entrants and helped pay for the first trophy plus we made quarter-finals three times in the 1870’s. We have entered FA Cup every year but one (1876/77).

We moved to our current York Road ground in 1871 so it’s the oldest football ground in the world continuously used by the same club.

Our new stand won the Groundtastic award for best new stand in 2014.

Neil Maskell Well, firstly we lay a strong claim to calling the oldest football ground in the world continuously used by the same club.

We can boast a few celebrity supporters – children’s television presenters Timmy Mallett and Toby Anstis, along with author Nick Hornby. I know that Timmy will be at Vale Park on Sunday afternoon but I’m not sure about Nick and Toby.

Lastly, there cannot be very many clubs who play at our level who can boast no fewer than three FA Cup quarter-final appearances. Admittedly, the last of these was 140 years ago, such is the long history of our club!

Mark Smith York Road is the oldest continuously used ground by the same club. We were one of the original entrants in the first ever FA Cup competition (1871/72). We reached the last four of the FA Cup competition in the 1872/73 season. If we had beaten Oxford University instead of losing 4-0, we would probably had contested the final against Wanderers as Oxford University’s semi-final opponents, Queens Park, subsequently withdrew from the competition.

Maurice Cann Our home ground York Road is the oldest continually used ground in the world by the same club. The club has played in every FA Cup competition since it started apart from the 1876-77 season. Wimbledon FA Cup final hero Lawrie Sanchez played one game for Maidenhead United in 1977.

How do you expect Maidenhead to do in the FA Cup this season?

Over the past 55 years we have only played one league team in the FA Cup…

Steve Jinman – Reach the first round!

Neil Maskell – We’re just happy to be here. Over the past 55 years we have only played one league team in the FA Cup, and that was ‘only’ Aldershot who are a team we have faced countless times in non-league football.

Mark Smith – Quite well!

Maurice Cann – Getting to the first Round of the FA Cup against league opposition is probably better than I expected at the start of the season.

Who should we watch out for in your squad?

This is the best squad of players we have had for many, many years…

Steve Jinman Harry Pritchard (left midfield) is having the season of his life at present. On the right is free scoring Dave Tarpey (22 goals from midfield last season).

Neil Maskell Why on earth should I do a scouting report for you? OK, well if you promise not to share with your management team I’d suggest that you need to keep our twinkle-toed winger Dave Tarpey quiet.

Mark Smith This is the best squad of players we have had for many, many years.

Maurice Cann Dave Tarpey, always a danger in front of goal. Harry Pritchard is having a great season too.

What is your favourite Maidenhead Cup memory?

Steve Jinman The 2006/07 first round at Stafford Rangers. We got a red card for our star striker Craig O’Connor in opening minutes and went one down. We equalised at start of second half through Dwane Lee. Then towards the end, our captain Dom Sterling was sent-off for a professional foul. But Chico Ramos saved the resulting penalty.

Neil Maskell Despite the slightly underwhelming nature of the draw, the home match with Aldershot four years ago was a brilliant day. A capacity crowd squeezed into York Road, we took an early lead and had chances to finish the game off before the Shots equalised shortly before the end. If we’d held on we would have had a chance to visit a famous old ground in Hillsborough in Round Two.

Mark Smith There are two – beating Aylesbury United 3-0 in the Isthmian League Full Members Cup final in 1997 which was our first trophy since 1970 and, the best match I have ever seen involving the club, beating Sutton United 5-4 at York Road in the Isthmian League Cup in March 1999.

Maurice Cann Playing Aldershot Town (then a league team) at home in front of 2,281 fans in the FA Cup 1st Round in 2011; we led 1-0 for most of the game only to concede a late equaliser.

And your favourite Cup goal?

Steve Jinman Anthony Thomas from 40 yards v Aldershot, 1st round 2011/12 to put us 1-0 up.

Neil Maskell The aforementioned Aldershot FA Cup tie saw Anthony Thomas give us an early lead with a skilful curling effort.

Mark Smith The three that won our first trophy for 27 years. Individually, the winning goal scored by Brian Connor in the 1998 Berks & Bucks Cup final against Reading at Wycombe Wanderers.

Maurice Cann Anthony Thomas’s stunning strike against Aldershot Town in 2011.

Who do you most fear as the dangermen from the Vale squad?

JJ Hooper scored the goal of the season at York Road for Havant…

Steve Jinman Surprisingly JJ Hooper. He scored the goal of the season at York Road for Havant in 2014/15. He also scored for Farnborough against the season before that.

Neil Maskell I know that Uche Ikpeazu is a handful and a promising young player.

Mark Smith No idea.

Maurice Cann I don’t honestly know much about Port Vale, but Louis Dodds could be a threat.

Do you have any memories of Port Vale?

A 2-0 away victory in a top of the table clash in 1990 – hang on, that was Malden Vale…

Steve Jinman Not with Maidenhead obviously but I have fond memories of my only prior visit to Vale Park in October 1993. I was at University in Lancashire and went to watch Reading win 4-0 en route to the division 3 title. Vale finishing runners up.

Neil Maskell To my knowledge we have never played you before, however Vale Park is one of the 84 current League grounds of the 92 which I have visited. It was an unmemorable match with Reading in September 2001 which was more famous for being the day on which England beat Germany 5-1. From memory, the ground seemed well-appointed and rather large in comparison to your somewhat modest crowds. I am looking forward to a return trip and our players and supporters are excited to visit a famous league ground.

Mark Smith None.

Maurice Cann A 2-0 away victory in a top of the table clash in 1990 – hang on, that was Malden Vale!

A score prediction for the game?

Steve Jinman 1-1 – Hooper and  Inman.

Neil Maskell I am sure you’ll want to visit a new ground, especially one with the history attached to ours so I am sure we’ll all settle for a replay. 1-1, Ikpeazu for Vale and Tarps for the Stripes.

Mark Smith I’ll pass by saying that I hope it will be a good game and the best team will win.

Maurice Cann 1-1 Dodds for Vale and Tarpey for the Magpies.

OVF would like to welcome the loyal Maidenhead following to Vale Park and hope that they enjoy the day. May the best team win – but whoever does, we hope it’s played in the right spirit and that Maidenhead are treated with the respect they deserve.

If you agree it will be a draw too, this game might be a good opportunity to place a wager. And if you really want to play it safe, you can always take advantage of bookmakers’ bonuses and promo codes to place a free bet.

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