York City v Macclesfield Town – the FA Trophy Final

Buildbase FA Trophy
Another week, another trip to Wembley. Actually, May has become our month of football. This time it was for my home team York City, who despite being relegated two seasons in a row, made it to the FA Trophy Final.

The FA Trophy Final is held at Wembley every year, a cup for the lower league clubs. All the lower leagues get to compete in the FA Cup (remember Sutton United’s great run this season just gone?) but this is their cup.

We headed back to Wembley to cheer on York. This time tickets were again very reasonable – and cheaper than the Women’s FA Cup Final. Only just though – my friend from York booked us in as a group booking (he bought about 50 tickets for friends). For the three of us it came in at around £18.

Buildbase Game Face

Watching the men’s game again it made me realise how different it is atmosphere-wise to the women’s game. There are differences… singing songs goading or taunting the opposition (especially if they used to play for you). None so much about our actual opposition though from what I could hear.

More swearing. A lot more swearing. Most of it went way over H’s head! (thankfully)

Buildbase FA Trophy Final York v Macclesfield

But it has made me think. The Women’s FA Cup Final got 3,000 more supporters than the games on Sunday. That’s games (plural) as prior to York’s game there was another trophy for the lower leagues. So I think it’s quite impressive the women’s attendance was higher.

Sure, you could say that people have to travel – but then the women’s game had teams from Nottingham and Manchester…


It was an interesting parallel anyway.

York did me proud. It was an exciting game. We played well, we were the first team to score with Macclesfield equalising each time. Just as the 90 minutes was coming up and I was dreading the idea of extra time and H having a late night on a day before school we got the crucial third goal. Ohh it was great.

By the time the final whistle came, everyone cheered and the York players came running to our end yelling “f***ing YESSSS!” which again is a massive contrast to the women’s game. We were still delighted and I was glad H hasn’t developed any lipreading skills!

York City win the FA Trophy

Ultimately I was proud of my team because we were the underdogs. You could tell who was sticking around and who loved York (hello Jon Parkin) and who was playing their final game. We haven’t had the best season, but it finished in a good way and a good start to the next.

There weren’t any Mexican waves this time! H didn’t notice too much, she was too busy getting into the game and loving all the goals. We all had a good time, and it was fun being right behind the goal too.

Seeing as all of York’s games next season will be up north, it’s likely that we won’t see any unless we go back. But at least now H has seen York at Wembley – the last time they played there she was in my tummy!

Wembley way

The FA Trophy Final was a fun afternoon and it was good to be a part of it. It was much louder atmosphere-wise too.

Our next game is on Sunday 28th May at The Valley, watching Tottenham Ladies try to gain promotion to the WSL2!

Sutton Utd v York City

Another bucket list thing ticked off, H has been to watch York City play. Seeing as Sutton United’s ground is two stops on the train for us it was easy to get to as well.

sutton united v york city

York City are my home team. My long-standing support lies with Tottenham, but when you’re up north in the eighties the chances of seeing them are next to non-existent. So I watched York City for many years until I got a paper round and couldn’t go to Saturday games any more.

York have not had the easiest ride. After the eighties wave of excellence we started hovering around the lower end of the league. Occasional moments of excellence, a rivalry with Luton Town of all teams, a few trips to Wembley with accompanying songs and support who never gives up.

H on shaun's shoulders

These last few seasons have been bad. We had a manager who seemed to put out statements about how hopeful he was we’d stay up (when we had lost again), who got replaced a few months ago. Now he’s running the club on a day to day basis. Sigh. Oh, and now York are third from the bottom in the Vanarama League. It’s all looking like we’ll drop to the Vanarama North.

Every point is crucial. So we headed to West Sutton on the train, and took the short walk to the club. This is proper football. Non-segregated around the ground, some seating available in the main stand but everyone mixed together. Very suitable for kids (apart from some songs but it went over their heads and was far enough they couldn’t hear).

Entry cost £15 for Shaun, I had my NUS card so it was £8, and £3 for H. Not cheap, but we’re supporting the football clubs which have no money. (Sutton do have a bit of money after their FA Cup run, but that’s a freak thing and a great thing too that even H might gain as Sutton United run one of her PE classes at school)

For most of the game the York players didn’t look like they knew each other. There were occasional moments but nothing seemed to happen. A couple of late substitutions and being 2-0 down, we started to head towards the exit. But then it happened! We scored! I’d joked as we started to leave “watch this, they’ll get two back now to stop us from leaving” – could it happen?

sutton united v york city

There was no more than two or three minutes left. The goal was by us as we were on the York side (the joys of having a ground you can walk around), and it felt like actually, we could do this. AND WE DID!

2-2 final score. Blimey. Those last ten minutes were worth it. Given York’s usual pattern is to go ahead then concede in the dying minutes, this was what we needed. When Sutton scored their first goal H handed me my vintage York City scarf (well, 1980s one) with a look of sadness, of all hope disappearing. This time H was on Shaun’s shoulders cheering with the biggest smile on her face.

Football at this level is so important. There is very little money – though some players still earn silly money. It isn’t like going to a Tottenham game. H needs to see that this is where it all begins. If you’re lucky a talented player might come through your ranks (though will get pinched by a bigger club). But that player could be your neighbour, your classmate…

We left Gander Green Lane and found a local child-friendly pub in the Robin Hood on West Street, Sutton. It had board games so H set up a chess game, then followed that up with Scrabble while we watched the Lincoln FA Cup game.

We have to keep everything crossed York can get enough points to stay up. A couple of wins could do it, depending on the other results. We don’t have long.

sutton united v york the end

In the upcoming weeks…

This year is going to be a much quieter one as far as treats and things go.

Last year was a pretty crazy one – we did loads of fun things and often did them if we happened to be somewhere. It was all very last minute.

This year there are still some good things happening, and as usual H doesn’t know half of them.

dick and dom live

Coming up next month we’re going to see Dick & Dom live at St Albans Arena. I’m quite looking forward to this as Dick & Dom in Da Bungalow was my hangover choice of programme back in the nineties. Shaun also appreciates their very daft sense of humour. Seeing as they’re still going strong and have found a big new fan in H, I think she’s going to love it. I just hope we don’t get too messy..  sounds like it could be. We’ve got to get the Thameslink home…!

After that Annie returns to London. We saw the touring production twice, both times with Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan. This time it’s going to be Miranda Hart – she’ll make a fantastic Miss Hannigan (and she also sounds pretty excited about it too). So we’re looking forward to that – we’re going in May. You can book tickets now! There’s lots of information over on the Facebook page of the production.

miranda hart in Annie

I really like SeatPlan – it’s a site where you can add reviews of your seat at the theatre, and it’s handy for working out the best places to sit. I’ve added a few reviews over the last few years but haven’t won any free tickets yet!

If we’re lucky then we may be able to squeeze a trip to see School of Rock around my birthday. I don’t celebrate my birthday any more, It’s more fun celebrating other people’s. H and Shaun seem to enjoy celebrating mine though so I have to do something to keep them happy. This should.

The theatre isn’t our only love. There’s also football. Next weekend FA Cup Giantkillers of the 2010’s Sutton United take on FA Cup Giantkillers of the mid-80’s (aka my home team), York City. So I’m taking H to her first York game* as Sutton United is a very short train journey away.

Wembley Stadium SSE giant sponge hands

We have tickets as usual for the Women’s FA Cup final on the 13th May because they always do such a good deal for Wembley, though if York continue their cup run maybe they’ll make it back there too. I’d rather they concentrated on the league…. that would be the week after the FA Cup Final.

I haven’t mentioned that I’ve put H and I down for more tickets to see Adele – this time at Wembley Stadium. Wembley-blooming-stadium. This is that shy girl that was shown around work back in 2007 or something, getting introduced to everyone before she had put out any music. Now look at her. Blimey.

So that’s it so far…. a few things to keep us busy. Add to that an active PTA that I’m part of, plus all the responsibilities with Brownies that I’ve got and things are really busy here – it’s all good!

* strictly speaking H has been to a York City game, when we were in the play off final at Wembley. I was about six or seven months pregnant at the time… that counts, right?