What all teams in England dream of winning is the FA Cup, a realistic goal for some, and merely a pipe dream for those lower in the football pyramid.
Non-league teams have made history in the competition with famous upsets over the years, but when it comes to winning, they have their own chance with the FA Trophy.
The FA Trophy, founded in 1969, is effectively an “FA Cup” for teams in the National League and below, giving them a chance to taste the glory and magic of the historical tournament.
What and where?
The final takes place at Wembley Stadium, a tradition among English cups like the FA Cup and EFL Carabao Cup, from the start to now, except for a brief period in 2001-2006 as it was brought down and redeveloped.
In that period, the final was played in Villa Park for all editions apart from the 2006 final, which took place at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground.
Similar to the aforementioned competitions, the FA Trophy has multiple qualifying rounds before the main stages, starting with teams from the 8th tier in the first qualifying round and each upper tier joining progressively until the National League teams enter in the third round.
Last year, a dream for Bromley
In the most recent edition, London’s Bromley FC won their first ever FA Trophy after a 1-0 defeat of Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham AFC thanks to Michael Cheek’s goal in the 64th minute.
BT Sport covered the match live as a crowd of around 46,000 spectated, which included Reynolds, David Beckham and Will Ferrell, both of whom are owners (or co-owner in Ferrell’s case) of MLS teams.
A memorable day dear to all involved with Bromley FC, from the players, the staff to the fans, who witnessed Captain Byron Webster lift a trophy at the legendary stadium, akin to the biggest teams in the country who experienced the same moments in the FA Cup.
The top teams in FA Trophy history
The most successful teams in its history are Telford United, Scarborough and Woking, each with three wins in their cabinet, though the first two have since dissolved and reborn as AFC Telford United and Scarborough Athletic FC.
No current Premier League played in the FA Trophy, though a founding team of the Premier League, Oldham Athletic AFC, will play in the cup for the first time after being relegated to the Vanarama National League last season.
Among the most well-known teams to lift the FA Trophy is League One side Wycombe Wanderers, who took home the silverware in 1991 and 1993.
The team currently highest in the English football scheme to play in a FA Trophy final is current EFL Championship side Wigan Athletic, though they lost to Scarborough in 1973.
For more coverage and pieces on the FA Trophy, check out the Sports section of the SWLondoner!
Featured image credit: Bromley FC YouTube