THE FA Cup may have lost some of its shine for the elite clubs in recent years but for the vast majority it still quickens the pulse and offers the chance of a rare moment in the limelight.
Just ask the players, officials and supporters of Dorchester Town, of the Blue Square Bet Southern Division. They donned their Sunday best and put their club well and truly on the map by knocking Plymouth Argyle out of the FA Cup.
Their 1-0 first round win in front of more than 3,000 fans at the Avenue Stadium came courtesy of a goal from former Plymouth trainee Jake Gosling and will live long in the memory of all those who witnessed it.
The tie brought the Magpies a welcome cash windfall as well as the chance of another in the second round when they visit the winners of the replay between Nuneaton Town and Luton Town on 1st December.
And should they win that one, Dorchester will go into the hat for the third round draw when the Premier League and Championship giants enter the fray – and a lucky pairing then could transform the club’s fortunes for years to come.
The cash, though, while always crucial for non-league clubs, is just one of the spin-offs from a run in the FA Cup. Unforgettable new chapters are written in the history books and the whole town gets to share in the glow of positive publicity. It’s hard to put a price on the feel-good factor.
Dorchester have already gone further in this season’s competition than the likes of Portsmouth – cup winners as recently 2008 – and Swindon Town, but Magpies’ manager Phil Simkin is hungry for more.
“This result is massive for the young players,” he said after the Plymouth match. “If they had any doubts about their ability or their chances of making it in the game then this is huge for them.”
Just down the road, Bournemouth ensured a second Dorset club will be in the second round. Their 4-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge brought them the dubious reward of a marathon journey to Carlisle at the next stage.