Colne boss Steve Cunningham is looking to relive the Reds’ FA Vase glory days.
If you mention the competition at the XLCR Stadium, it stirs memories of the club’s predecessors Colne Dynamoes beating Emley at Wembley in 1988.
And the current incarnation reached the semi-finals 10 years ago, famously beating AFC Wimbledon along the way.
Cunningham featured in the early rounds a decade ago, but was signed by Rossendale and missed the win at the Dons, and the heartbreaking exit to Sudbury in front of a record crowd of 1,742.
Colne host Northern League Newton Aycliffe tomorrow, kick-off 3 p.m., and while promotion is the goal for the North West Colunties Premier Division leaders, Cunningham knows how much the Vase means: “It’s massive for us. I remember 10 years ago, I started that season here and played a few rounds before I was bought by Rossendale, and a few months later they were in the semi-finals – I was gutted not to be involved!
“I started this season in a different mindset, focusing on the league, as we have a great opportunity, I felt, this year, but I saw the buzz created for the fans, the players and officials at Athersley a few weeks ago –we had a coachload there, and my mindset changed slightly.
“The town comes alive in the Vase, and if we can progress, it can have a snowball effect.”
But Cunningham anticipates a tough task against a side well versed in the Vase: “We’re looking forward to Saturday, against a very good side, whose manager (Peter Dixon) twice took West Auckland to Wembley, and he’s taken several players with him.
“So they have been there, seen it, done it.
“But we’re in a good phase, and there’s no reason why we can’t beat them.”
The Reds have been without a game for three weeks with their last three games postponed, but Cunningham has a full squad to select from, and he feels he has the tools to beat Aycliffe: “Danny Boyle scored 42 goals last season and is top-scorer again, and while the goals weren’t distributed as much as we’d like last season, this season we have Jay Hart scoring goals, Kenny Taylor, Ben Allen, Spencer Jordan – who doesn’t get the credit he deserves – and even our right back Ben Hoskin has five!
“Our goal difference is far superior to anyone else’s in the league, we have a real goal threat, and we will need that against a strong, physical side.
“Our pace will be important.”
And in former Clarets reserve team midfielder Chris Anderson, he feels he has a real diamond: “Chris is the jewel in our crown.
“He just runs games week after week.
“He’s the best player in this league, and probably the league above.
“It’s great having him around, as well as Alex Coleman, Lee Pugh – we have a great squad, but they are also great people as well.
“We are a family club here, and everyone is enjoying being part of something.
“Hopefully we can achieve something together – winning silverware this season would be a real achievement.”
Colne are at Holker Old Boys on Tuesday, providing there is no replay needed.