Mayor backs team's glory bid

By Patrick LowmanA MAYOR has swapped his ceremonial robes for the yellow and blue colours of his town's football team who are preparing to take centre stage in the FA Vase Final.

By Patrick Lowman

A MAYOR has swapped his ceremonial robes for the yellow and blue colours of his town's football team who are preparing to take centre stage in the FA Vase Final.

AFC Sudbury will run out at Upton Park on Saturday to face Brigg Town in the final of non-league football's most glamorous competition.

Sudbury mayor Nigel Bennett posed outside the Town Hall draped in yellow and blue banners in an effort to drum up support for the team.

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Mr Bennett has urged fans to make the journey to London to help turn West Ham's ground into a sea of yellow and blue for the final.

Up to 10,000 fans are expected to make the trip from Suffolk to London at the weekend and the mayor will lead the army of Sudbury fans into Upton Park.

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Mr Bennett has been a keen follower of the team since he become a town councillor four years ago. Just weeks ago he was among the jubilant crowd at the King's Marsh stadium when Sudbury beat local rival's Maldon Town in the competition's semi-final.

He has now booked his tickets for the final and will travel to the big match on a supporter's coach with his daughters Abby, 12, and Helen, 10.

"I am ready to go to the final and I am really looking forward to it, it should be a great day. I urge as many people from Sudbury as possible to make the trip to London so that we can turn Upton Park into a sea of yellow and blue," said Mr Bennett.

"I have been very impressed by the standard at football this season and I am keeping my fingers crossed that they bring the trophy back to Suffolk on Sunday.

"The team are already heroes for reaching the final and we just hope they can make us even more proud by winning the competition."

Mr Bennett has also been impressed with how the town has got behind the team and said the team's achievement had helped to put Sudbury on the map.

"This is a national competition, so to get to the final has got to be good for the town. It has created a real feel-good factor in Sudbury and everybody is now starting to get behind the team," he added.

"The atmosphere is now starting to take off and shopkeepers are now dressing their windows in yellow and blue and people who are not usually interested in football and even getting involved.

"This has now become a whole town event and not just a sporting one and it is a good time for Sudbury."

Win or lose in the final, Mr Bennett will greet the team to a heroes' welcome at a civic reception at Sudbury Town Hall on Sunday.

Club officials have asked any fans still wanting tickets for the game to get them through the official club outlets. Tickets can be bought from Ian's Barber Shop in North Street, Steed and Steed solicitors and from Brian Tatum on 01787 375840.

n Follow the build-up to AFC Sudbury's big cup final every day this week in the East Anglian Daily Times.

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