Glossop North End Are Wembley Bound

Fri 8th May 2015 | Glossop North End
By Ian Templeman

The waiting is almost over for the players, officials and supporters of Glossop North End, who will be heading to Wembley for Saturday's FA Vase final.

The road that began at West Didsbury & Chorlton on the 1st November in the First Round ends in North West London, as Glossop look to round off a memorable season by completing a unique treble of league, Men United Cup and FA Vase.

The Hillmen, of course, were the last team from the NWCFL to reach the final, back in 2009, when Steve Young's team lost 2-0 to Whitley Bay of the Northern League, and with several members of this year's squad having been involved in the squad six years ago, they will need little incentive to go one better this time.

Another club from the Northern League, North Shields, stand in their way, and with that league generally recognised as one of the strongest at this level, a team that finished fourth in the Northern League Division One, five points behind the champions Marske United, is going to provide stiff opposition.

The North Shields first team manager is Graham Fenton, who played for Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa during his professional career, and he took over the managerial reins at the club in 2012, after initially joining 18 months earlier as player/assistant manager.

Fenton didn't take long to make an immediate impact on taking over, as he guided the club to promotion last season, ending a 10 year in the Northern League Second Division, claiming the trophy with a 100 points total.

The Robins have adjusted with ease to playing at a higher level this season, and like Glossop will be looking to round off a good season with a Wembley triumph.

Although always in touch at the top of the Northern League, their form in the Vase was equally impressive, and it was a competition that was particularly to the liking of leading scorer is Gareth Bainbridge.

The striker scored 27 league goals this season, with another 17 in Vase games, including all four goals in the first round win at Stokesley and a hat trick in the 3-0 win at Sunderland RCA a couple of rounds later.

There is clearly no lack of confidence in the camp ahead of the game, and one of the club's sponsors, a mobile phone company are producing what is billed as "the first crowd sourced football celebration compiled entirely from North Shields FC fans".

Fans will be able to contribute dance moves on Twitter, which will be complied by a choreographer, and will, as reported on the club website "be executed by the team when they score at Wembley".

While this news will no doubt be greeted with a mixture of indifference and amusement in the Glossop camp, there is little chance that they themselves would underplay their own chances after such a successful season, and following a nine day rest after a hectic end to the season, Chris Willcock and his men will be more than ready to meet the challenge from the men from the North East.

There has, naturally, been plenty of attention and activity focussed on the club this week, as Press Officer Jonathan Haggart explained.

"It's been a busy busy week in Glossop, as preparations for the Vase game continue.

"The club's megastore has done a roaring trade, as has the local butcher with his blue GNE pork pies.  We've had media company Copa90 in town to do a bit of filming and there have been plenty of interview requests for the players and management. 

"On Thursday morning though, this all changed and the focus from everyone is now on the game as the team left for the south

"Chris Willcock's focus has always been on the game, of course, and he will have done his homework on North Shields.  You can be sure that no stone has been left unturned as the club quest for an unprecedented treble.

"The team trained on Tuesday and on Friday morning will train again.  Arsenal have kindly lent the club use of an area at their London Colney training facility, and the Hillmen have gratefully accepted.  The only stipulation is that the club bring some of John Mettrick's pies with them, and a package has been specially prepared.

"After that the players will head to Wembley for a stadium tour so that they can get a feel for the place.  Then it will be dinner, bed and a game to play.  Here's hoping we can go one better than 2009.  Viva GNE!"

If you are not travelling to Wembley, you can choose from two radio commentaries to keep in touch with all the action.

High Peak Radio will be covering the game, with commentary from High Peak Radio’s James Ellis and Glossop North End’s Tim Barnett. Coverage starts at 2pm.

High Peak Radio can found on 103.3 and 106.4 FM in the High Peak area, and online at

BBC Radio Manchester will also have live match commentary on Saturday from Wembley, and the coverage can be found on 95.1 and 104.6 FM and on line at

Televised highlights of the game will be shown on BT Sport at 10 pm on Saturday evening, and repeated again at 1.30 am.

From a League perspective, there will be match updates on Twitter @nwcfl, and the league website will carry a countdown to kick off, and match reports at half time and full time on the game.

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