Chris Bolder hopes his North Ferriby boys of 2020/21 can write new and memorable FA Vase chapters into the history of the club.
The old Ferriby are steeped in glorious history in the competition having reached the semi-finals in 1989 before getting to the final in 1997 when they lost 3-0 to Whitby Town underneath the Twin Towers.
Ferriby have an tough home draw in Northwich Victoria, but Bolder hopes “luck” is on their side.
“I think it is a really nice distraction from the league and it is a prestigious cup competition, one that we would love to be successful in,” Bolder told Non League Yorkshire.
“The old adage is you take each game as it comes and tomorrow is the biggest game we have got and we’ll give everything we have got and we’ll be delighted if we come through against a strong Northwich side.
“The club has a little bit of history in the FA Vase so it would be nice to emulate a good cup run. It is a new club and new times, but it would be daft not to draw on the past.
“Scott Phillips’ dad was part of it (the 1997 run) so I think he reminds Scott quite regularly of it. When we go in the clubhouse there are pictures on the wall so it is a constant reminder if you look for them.
“Locally or within the region we are back on the map, no question about that because the club has a big following and they do well with putting the club out there on social media. There’s also the big thing with the kit getting international recognition.
“I think North Ferriby are firmly back on the map, but not on a wider basis and a run in the FA Vase would help to do that. Luck is the key thing. With any cup run you do need luck and you do need good draws. If you draw someone tough like we have with Northwich then you’d like to think it will be at home like it is.
“We know we are underdogs, massive underdogs, but if we can get past them and get some good draws then who knows?”
Ferriby have flown out of the blocks and have ten points out of an available 15 during the start to the Toolstation NCEL Division One campaign.
Ferriby have beaten Hall Road Rangers, Dronfield Town and Glasshoughton Welfare, whilst drawing with Harrogate Railway and losing at Emley. The start puts Ferriby in a strong position and it is a better positive than 12 months when their early form could have cost them promotion.
“We always set a mini target and if you look at leagues across the country, if you average two points a game you’re going to be there or there abouts,” he said.
“That’s always going to be the base target and you look to build upon that.
“We’ve had a mixed bag away from home. Our home form has been very impressive and we look a good strong attacking threat going forward. They are the main positives and the negatives are shipping late goals.
“It is something we have to develop. We can’t put our finger on why? We have performed really well in the first halves away from home and then for whatever reason we have taken our foot off the gas. We were dominant against Emley in the first half and conceded in injury-time against them.
“Of course it is better than the start to last season. We had a dodgy start to the season and it took time to get used to the league. Obviously this league was brand new to us and none of the players had experienced this level of football before.
“It was a baptism of fire going away to some grounds and we fell short in some tough away games. Once as we got more into it and we got more of a settled squad then we were firing on all cylinders and churning out positive results. But we knew because of the start we had to go on a run and could not afford many slip-ups.
“It was a strange situation because we still had Campion to play twice (before null and void) and those games would have been a big factor in how those top four places panned out.
“We were on a really good run where we had one defeat in 23 games which was against Winterton so we were flying and hopefully heading in the right direction of promotion. The way the season ended, yeah it was disappointing, but it could have been doubly disappointing if they had gone points-per-game and missed out.”
Ferriby heavily strengthened in the summer with a string of stand-out signings.
Long-serving Pickering defender Niall Tilsley, Danny East from higher up the pyramid was another. Local hero Scott Phillips returned to the semi-pro game and that’s just three of the captures.
“No we didn’t need to make many changes, but we did,” he said.
“We brought in seven new faces because I don’t feel you can stand still. If you feel you can bring players in who can enhance you and bring in competition for players then you would be daft not to.
“We’re happy with the squad, but I’m the same as any other manager, I have my ear to the ground.
“But of course we feel the squad is capable of challenging. We know we have some strong players and players with good experience of higher levels. We know if everything falls into place I’m sure we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
“We look at the experience, the quality, where the lads have played and the togetherness, everything is pointing in the right direction. We just need to get the chemistry right.”
After the Northwich FA Vase game, Ferriby have a seven day break from action until the Parkgate home game. Between the fixtures, the prime minister Boris Johnson is expected announce stricter restrictions – which could affect the Non League game. Bolder just hopes sport can continue.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and who knows what is going to happen,” he said.
“Every game or every week that passes by, we’re just grateful to keep playing and getting the fixtures on the board. It is such an important part of a vast majority of people’s way of life
“People absolutely love football, whether that’s playing in it or watching it. It is an integral part of their lives. To be back once again after such a lengthy lay-off I think people are just embracing it and loving being part of it again. I think people are just glad to be back watching and playing.
“From our perspective we have a wonderful fanbase and they’ve stuck by us through difficult times and for them it is really rewarding to be able to get back down to Church Road and cheer the lads on.
“I’m sure there is going to be some more or further disruption throughout this season. Fingers crossed it (the virus) stays under control and if the odd fixture has to be postponed and reinserted back, so be it.
“It is certainly going to be challenging. This week we have some a few disruptions in the NCEL and it is hard to predict where the country is going.”
If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.
NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. As we slowly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.
We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.
Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and because of the cancelled Lucille Rollinson Memorial Tournament, we are down on projected income for the year and we have incurred losses in the last few months.
We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. Several of our players are suffering from effects of the lockdown and we are determined to be in the strongest position possible to provide services for them.
Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.
Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.