Tring Athletic have a date with destiny this Saturday when they face what the club says is the biggest match in their 59-year history.

Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 2:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 3:52 pm
Tring Athletic are vying for the Buildbase FA Vase silverware, with the final played at Wembley Stadium in May

The side travel to Melksham Town, in Wiltshire, in the last-16 of the prestigious national FA Vase competition.

It mean’s Tring’s history boys are just three steps from Wembley Stadium heaven, with the cup final set for the country’s national stadium on Sunday, May 20.

Tring’s opponents play in the Toolstation Western Football League, which is the equivalent standard to Athletic’s SSML Premier Division in the football league system, meaning Tring have every chance of making the quarter-finals if they put in a 
good performance.

The FA Vase, now in its 44th year, is the annual football competition for teams playing below step four of the English national league system.

More than 600 clubs entered the FA Vase in the first-round back in August so Tring have already done remarkably well to reach the last 16.

If they were to reach the final, the winning club would vie for £30,000 while the runner-up would pocket £20,000.

Hundreds of Tring fans are expected to make the trip on Saturday.

Athletic know they face a tough task and based on their poor league position [17th] compared with Melksham’s [3rd], it would appear to make their hosts the favourites.

But Tring chairman Howard Wells, who is no stranger to the big occasion having been chief executive of then-Premier League clubs Watford and Ipswich, as well as the Irish FA, is confident the team will do well and that they are better than their league position suggests.

Tring have lost just one of their last eight league games and in getting this far in the FA Vase have beaten some good sides along the way, including leaders of their respective leagues, Berkhamsted and Hullbridge Sports.

Wells, who has been chairman since September 2017, said: “I’m delighted at how well the club has done in this competition and the excitement it has generated around the club and the town.

“This will be a memorable occasion and the team will go into the game confident they can get a positive result.”