Mossley Football Club is on the verge of returning to Wembley for the first time since its famous FA Trophy final appearance 37 years ago.
But it’s financial help not silverware that will be up for grabs if the Lilywhites make it to the capital again.
If successful, a Wembley win could transform the historic but run down Seel Park club.
The Lilywhites are among a host of non league sides chasing £50,000 worth of ground improvements from Buildbase, sponsors of the two major non league knockout competitions, the FA Trophy and the FA Vase.
Only six will be short listed and just two will be chosen – one from each tournament – to win the prize after a Dragon’s Den style interview at Wembley.
The short listed clubs hadn’t been announced as the Correspondent went to press.
However, Mossley, currently members of the Evo-Stik League first division, have already achieved one of the major criteria to be invited to the National Stadium later this month.
Despite opposition from teams with larger fan bases and from towns with greater populations, Mossley topped the table in an online voting poll that closed last month. Neighbours Hyde United and Altrincham were two of the clubs left trailing in Mossley’s wake.
Mossley raised TV personality, Melanie Sykes, local rockers Cabbage and WBO Intercontinental champion, Brian Rose, a friend of FC manager, Peter Band, tweeted their support among with hundreds more filling in an online form.
Secretary and former director Harry Hulmes was overwhelmed by the response and admits:” I would like to think it will be a difficult decision not to put the winners through.”
In addition, Harry has also submitted a detailed proposal on why the building supplies are so vital to the Tameside minnows.
“The response from people in Mossley and around the town was fantastic,” he told the Correspondent.
“Even Curzon Ashton and Ashton United got behind us and urged their supporters to support us.
“People on the Real Mossley group on Facebook especially got behind us with family, friends and work colleagues voting in their number.
“We virtually led the table from start to finish. Everytime we got knocked off someone would urge everyone else on to put us back on top.
“Initially, I hoped we would come in the top three. As it went on it became clear we could keep hold of that top spot. Pretty much everyone in Mossley was behind it.
“We know it’s not money we could win. But building supplies would be a god send.
“Under Football Association regulations we have got to increase the size of the away dressing room for next season anyway because it doesn’t comply with standard regulations.
“It is very old and in need of repair. That actual part of the building is original from the early 1900s.
“It is a single brick building, very damp and with a leaking roof. We have buckets all over the place.
“There is no heating so on match days we have fan heaters on to warm up the place.
“It wants a much needed facelift and the flat roof needs replacing with a proper sloping structure.
“Parts of the car park are a mud bath and so we need to get it levelled and lots of gravel put down.”
The Buildbase competition encourages participating clubs to show how renovation work would benefit the whole community, not just the football club.
And Harry believes Mossley ticks that box as well. “The Football Club is the hub of the community.
“We are a small town with no leisure or recreational facilities. We don’t get much from the Council and generally have to fend for ourselves.
“We are home to a running club that now has 150 members, there’s a regular Wednesday night youth club and a Monday club catering for local disabled people.
“So we like to think we have a good bid to put before them if we get through to this Dragon’s Den type interview.”
The short-listed clubs were scheduled to be announced last month and the winners unveiled on March 11 – the date of the FA Trophy and FA Vase finals.
They will then receive an award presentation for their building products on finals day on 21 May 2017, ready to start renovations over the summer.”