Tony Hall on the spot to scout Brantham Athletic’s FA Vase opponents Whitley Bay
BRANTHAM Athletic manager Tony Hall will have no problem scouting FA Vase opponents Whitley Bay despite the near 300-mile distance between the two clubs.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division club were handed a home tie against the four-time winners from the Northern League Division One when the Fourth Round Proper draw was made at Wembley Stadium yesterday.
Hall, who was born just five miles away in Jarrow, is managing director of a building and maintenance company with offices close to Whitley Bay.
The former Ipswich Town apprentice said: “Our offices could not be much closer to Whitley Bay, and we built some houses right next to their ground!
“I have checked the fixture list already to see what they have got in the next few weeks.
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“We will have them watched two or three times. All the top local teams play in their league. They are fifth with games in hand, and there is no doubt they are a good side.
“I am pleased with the draw. We are a better team when we have got tough games, so it is a good draw for us.
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“It will be a four-and-a-half to five-hour journey down for them and an overnight stop.
“I think they get 500-600 watch them, so hopefully they will bring a couple of coach loads down with them.”
The tie, which will take place on Saturday, January 19, marks the end of a run of six consecutive home draws in the competition for Whitley Bay, who won the FA Vase in 2002, 2009, 2010 – when they defeated Norfolk side Wroxham 6-1 in the final – and 2011.
Brantham’s fellow Suffolk Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Hadleigh United must travel to AFC Emley, who are based near Huddersfield and play in the Northern Counties East League Division One.
Hadleigh manager Stuart Crawford said: “I would have preferred to have had a home draw, but looking at it we have missed most of the bigger teams left in the competition, so I am not too despondent, although it is a long way to go. We will look to go up the night before, possibly on a coach.
“I don’t know whether we will get to watch them beforehand, but we had not watched Oxhey Jets (who Hadleigh defeated 2-0) and that didn’t do us any harm on Saturday.
“But if we play to our ability it doesn’t really matter whether we watch them or not.”
Wisbech Town must travel to Gornal Athletic and Ely City, who first must overcome Bethnal Green United on Saturday after their tie was postponed at the weekend, will be at home to Sutton Town AFC or Spalding United.
In addition to advancing to the last 16, the Fourth Round Proper winners will each receive �2,000 from the FA’s prize fund.