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Bricks to face FA Cup legends as run continues

Win over Ramsgate sets up a tie against non-league team that captured nation’s imagination

26 September, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Hadley FC boss Anthony Clark with Tom Milton, whose headed goal against Ramsgate sent the Bricks through to the next round of the FA Cup on Saturday

THE magic of the FA Cup is tightening its grip on a squad largely made up of footballers from Camden and Islington after they were handed “the most glamorous tie possible” on Monday.

Hadley FC, nicknamed “the Bricks”, were rewarded for their fourth win in this year’s competition with a third-round qualifier against a team that know all about captivating Cup ties.

Havant & Waterlooville were the talk of the trophy back in 2008 when they were drawn away to Liverpool in the fourth round in a showdown that captured the country’s imagination.

And the Hawks didn’t disappoint as they twice took the lead in a spirited display before eventually losing 5-2 an Anfield.

While a trip to West Leigh Park might not sound as big as a Cup clash on Merseyside, manager Anthony Clark says, for his Hadley heroes, a matchday against the National League South squad couldn’t be any bigger.

“We have been handed the hardest draw possible,” said Clark, who lives in Highgate.

“They play three tiers above us, and, having only been relegated from the National League last season, they are among the favourites to win promotion – so you could say it’s like playing a team four tiers above us.

“We’re talking about a club that spends thousands of pounds a week on wages, playing against a club that can’t afford to pay our players a penny.”

“We’re all really looking forward to it,” Clark added. “The footballing gods will have to be on our side if we’re going to get a good result.

“Everything, and more, is going to have to go our way. But this game is about more than just the result – for some of our players it’s a chance to put themselves in the shop window.

“I’ve told them these kind of days don’t come around very often. You never know who is watching a game like this, so a standout performance could lead to someone being given their big break. You just don’t know.”

It’s not just the Hadley players looking forward to an away day in Hampshire. The club have already revealed they will have two coaches for supporters leaving from their ground in Barnet on the morning of the match, while fans have already come up with a new chant: “Now it’s off to Havant, for the battle of Waterloo. Clarky’s Bricks are coming, to score more goals than you!”

Hadley, who play in the Essex Senior League, are no strangers to beating so-called bigger teams. They earned their place in Monday’s FA Cup draw after beating a team one tier higher – Isthmian League South East Division side Ramsgate FC. Soon-to-be black cabbie Alfie Bartram, who lives in Islington, whipped in a corner that removals man Tom Milton headed home as the Bricks ran out 1-0 winners at their home pitch in Brickfield Lane.

The victory earned the club £6,750, taking their FA Cup winnings this season to over £16,000.

It’s an amount that’s on the up, with the losers in the next round set to earn another £3,750, while the winners will take home a staggering £11,250.

“I’ve said it before but, at this level, for clubs like ours, every single penny is vital. Our FA Cup run has gone a long way to helping the club build towards their plans for the future.”

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