Chichester City’s FA Cup stars have been told to savour every moment as they prepare to find out who they will play in the second round.
Some of the players from the only other Chi City team to reach the first round – in 1960 – have been recalling their exploits and wishing their 2019 counterparts good luck.
Chichester and Maldon and Tiptree are the joint lowest-ranked sides left in the cup and Miles Rutherford’s team are the only team left in who started their campaign at the very first hurdle, the extra preliminary round.
The club’s only other place in the ‘proper’ rounds of the Cup was 59 years ago, when they lost 11-0 at Bristol City in the first round.
Two members of that City team, Fred Knotts and Nigel Hillier, have been recalling the occasion and are rooting for the present-day City.
Hillier said: “I’ve been to watch Chi this season and I like the way they play. They seem to have a very good spirit. They’ve played very, very well to get this far.”
His message to the City players? “Just enjoy it for all it’s worth because it doesn’t happen very often.”
Chi assistant boss Graeme Gee said excitement would build ahead of Monday’s draw but the management had their eyes firmly trained on a rare league game coming up before then.
Gee said: “We go to Sevenoaks on Saturday and we’re aware we’re playing catch-up in the league. We need to be picking up some points.
“I’m sure after Saturday’s game is over our thoughts will turn to the draw and who we might get. The odds increase in this round on you drawing a league club and I suppose the big three all the non-league clubs will want are Pompey, Sunderland or Ipswich.
“You know you need a monumental stroke of luck and amount of effort to get through the second round as a non-league club. But you also know with the right draw you can be on the brink of the third round.
“I’d imagine all the League One and League Two sides will want to draw us, because getting to round three is massive for them too.
“We’re enjoying the journey and it might be over very soon. And it’s lovely to hear that some of the guys from the 1960 team are wishing us well.”
City’s worries over a fixture backlog are growing after they lost two games in four days to the weather.
The home league match versus Ashford was washed out on Saturday, as was the Sussex Senior Cup tie at Shoreham on Tuesday night.
City are likely to play twice a week for the foreseeable future – whether or not they go any further in the FA Cup.