The FA Vase is a competition that some football fans may have not even heard of.
This is surprising but with the domination of the mega-bucks TV deal, interest in higher-end football in England has never been more popular.
This has meant some tournaments have taken more of a back-seat role, but this season’s FA Vase could be a massive exception. The semi-final draw was made earlier today on talkSport and the two heavyweights were paired together, as they so often are.
Hereford FC will play Salisbury FC over two legs for the chance to walk out underneath the Wembley arch, and the tie will be a money-spinner for both sides.
But what makes this tie so special are the stories behind both of the team’s involved. Hereford FC didn’t even exist until the start of this season after the Hereford United of old were wound up in court in December 2014.
The local community came together and against all the odds, the club moved back to Edgar Street and into the ninth tier of English football – competing in the Midland Premier League.
The Bulls sit top of the League, unbeaten in 33 and have broken all Non-League attendance records along the way. It’s been a ground-breaking first season for the reformed Bulls and many have been captivated by their progress in such a short space of time.
Salisbury FC have a story of their own too. Only four years ago The Whites were playing in the Conference Premier, one division away from the Football League.
In 2014 the club were removed from the Football Conference for failing to pay their debts and reformed as a new outfit for their first season in the Wessex Premier League.
They too have been performing strongly this season and they sit eight points clear of their respective division with two games in hand of their clearest rival.
But with both clubs having historic pasts’ this tie could be one of the most popular FA Vase ties ever. The semi-finals are two-legged with the first ties taking place on Saturday 12 March and the return fixture seven days later on Saturday 19 March.
A bumper crowd is expected at Edgar Street for the first leg and media interest is expected to go into overdrive. Having a team like Hereford in this division is fantastic for non-league and grassroots football and their involvement in the FA Vase is no exception either.
The Bulls could become the first ever team to have a Wembley crown to their name in their first season in existence and it would be no coincidence either. They’ve been fantastic all year and a trip to the arch would be the cherry on the top of the cake, should they successfully get out of the Midland Premier League too.
For Salisbury FC its their first opportunity at major silverware since their reformation. It’s been a turbulent couple of years for their supporters and they too will be relishing a fixture against another Non-League heavyweight.
There’s no doubt that this could be one of the most exciting Vase fixtures ever, and with the final also on the horizon, it could be a fairytale ending for one of these phoenix clubs.