Rugby Town are showing their support for Non League Day – a national initiative to increase the profile of grass roots football – by organising a tournament on the Butlin Road astroturf facility ahead of their opening FA Cup match on Saturday, September 3.
Non League Day was established for the first time last season, and was developed to attract supporters of Football League clubs to watch a local non-league team on a weekend where there are no fixtures in the Premier and the Championship due to an England international game.
The club are hoping to welcome local Aston Villa, Coventry, Birmingham and Leicester supporters to sample the excellent facilities at Butlin Road and hopefully cheer Valley onto a place in the next stage of the country’s most prestigious cup competition.
Town will face either Gornal or Shifnal in the FA Cup Preliminary Qualifying Round, and with another nearby professional club – Northampton Town – also not in action that Saturday, they are looking to boost the match day attendance for this important cup tie.
Club volunteer Mick Bird – who is helping to co-ordinate the day’s activities – explained: “It’s a perfect opportunity for football supporters to sample the early days of the FA Cup and also get involved by representing or cheering on their own club in the pre-match tournament.”
“We’ve already had confirmation of two teams from Coventry City, a Leicester City one and also one from Aston Villa.
“There will also be teams from Rugby and one of ex-players Craig Herbert is hoping to enter a Valley old boys side too.”
“There will be a speed ball challenge in the ground for the kids and adults that measures how hard you can strike the ball and we’ve also commissioned a cup for the winners of the seven-a-side tournament which will be called The Carl Barnes Cup, in memory of one of our most dedicated volunteers who recently passed away aged just 44.”
“We’re looking for supporters of other league clubs in the town to add extra spice to the tournament, or perhaps a works side or an existing five-a-side team who want to be part of this exciting initiative.”
n The tournament will start at 11am ahead of the 3pm Rugby Town FA Cup game, and for more details on the tournament or on Non League Day as a whole, please contact Tom Crinigan on 07865 094814.