December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
It was a magnificent moment of sporting glory which will be forever etched into the hearts of their fans, and the history books of their town.
And after Swaffham Town Football Club claimed their very first FA Cup victory in their debut season in the competition, there was really only one way to celebrate.
No, not an open-top bus tour, or champagne in the showers… but a karaoke sing-song of 90s pop classic Barbie Girl, live on national radio, with football’s own blond bombshell, Robbie Savage.
The Pedlars claimed a surprise win over Wisbech Town, beating their higher-ranked visitors 2-1 on Saturday in the opening extra-preliminary round of the Budweiser FA Cup.
Their performance caught the attention of former player-turned-pundit Mr Savage, who named them as his non-league team of the week on his BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in show 606.
As a result, first-team manager Paul Hunt was invited to speak on the show about the match, the team and Swaffham – and during the show, the players broke out in a celebratory rendition of Aqua’s 1997 hit Barbie Girl.
The team’s FA Cup progress will now be followed by the 606 crew until the Pedlars are knocked out.
Mr Hunt, who is now in his fourth season at the club, said it was “marvellous surprise” to get a phone call from the radio show just minutes after their biggest win.
He said: “There’s been lots of hard wok putting foundations in place and getting a good squad together, getting good players and there’s been a lot of work behind the scenes to get to this point.
“It seems to have come together and to get a really nice big result on Saturday is really pleasing.
“The phone call from the radio was a marvellous surprise and something you don’t expect.
“Getting a mention is great in itself, but to be chosen as the non-league team of the week and to be followed is absolutely fantastic.
“It’s had a knock-on effect as the club’s profile on Twitter has gone a bit crazy and people are wishing us luck for the next round, which is fantastic.”
The Pedlars, based at Shoemakers Lane, would normally see home crowds of about 40 or 50 people but welcomed 215 fans to Saturday’s match.
The first-team squad is made up of 18 players whose day-to-day jobs vary from spray-painting Tornado fighter jets at RAF Marham and delivering parcels to working as a lifeguard and producing short horror films.
They will next take on Ipswich Wanderers and March Town in Division One of the Thurlow Nunn League – having won their last two league games 3-0 and 7-0 – before hosting Huntingdon Town in the preliminary round of the FA Cup on August 31.
Huntington play at the same higher level as Wisbech. The winners of that tie will then travel to Sleaford or Godmanchester in the first qualifying round.
“We were going to do karaoke to celebrate Saturday’s match no matter what as it was our first-ever time in the FA Cup, so when they asked us what we were going to do on the radio, it was a good opportunity to ‘stitch up’ our assistant manager Lewy Hemeter, who is a bit of a show man anyway, then everyone in the club joined in,” added Mr Hunt, who used to play for King’s Lynn and Swaffham before he became a team manager.
“All the guys are buzzing and we’re looking forward to the next round.
“Going into this game was a strange one. We’d had a good start to the season but we had so many players who were not available and went into it with a slightly weakened squad.
“Our younger players really stepped up to the mark and even though we had a player sent off after 10 or 15 minutes, we stuck in there to take the win.
“We’ve now got a squad of players who can’t wait for the next round of the cup and are really looking forward to it.”
• FA CUP QUALIFYING FACTFILE
• Swaffham need to get through another five qualifying rounds to reach the competition proper of the FA Cup and the chance of facing a Football League club. A further two victories would take them into the third round, the stage at which Norwich City enter.
• The last Norfolk non-league club who qualified for the competition proper were King’s Lynn, who got to the second round in 2006 before losing at home to Oldham in a Friday-night tie televised by Sky (pictured).
• Wisbech themselves have twice reached the second round proper of the FA Cup since the war and have faced league sides including Ipswich, Colchester, Reading, Newport, Brentford, Brighton and Bristol Rovers.
• The Norfolk non-league side to have progressed the furthest in the FA Cup proper since the war are King’s Lynn, who lost 4-0 at Everton in the third round of 1962 watched by an attendance of 44,916.
• Other notable runs have included Great Yarmouth Town’s 1953 progression to the second round proper. The Bloaters lost 5-2 at Barrow after a first-round 1-0 victory over Third Division visitors Crystal Palace in front of a record Wellesley Recreation Ground crowd of 8,944.