Vase future in jeopardy

With clubs from northern England providing five of the contestants in this weekend's FA Carlsberg Vase quarter-finals, the Federation Brewery Northern League, in particular, can be proud. It has produced three of the last eight, a fine achievement, but one that may have sad implications for the future of the Vase.

If Guisborough, one of the three Northern League representatives, can see off Taunton, the Screwfix Direct Western League leaders, at their King George V ground on Sunday, three of the last four will be from the north.

Last season's final, between Clitheroe from Lancashire and Brigg from Humberside, drew a crowd of just 7,340 to Wembley - a long way below the Vase final record attendance of 26,487 for Sudbury Town against Tamworth in 1989.

The Football Association has already taken the controversial decision to ban clubs without floodlights from next season's Vase - a ruling which will lessen the grass-roots charm of the tournament. If this year's final draws another poor crowd, speculation that the final might be moved away from Wembley could become reality. That would spoil the dreams of all who enter the Vase, in which the appeal of the national stadium, rather than the competition itself, is what matters.

Such fears, however, will not spoil the fun for the Northern League. Its clubs made regular trips to Wembley in the days of the FA Amateur Cup, but last season none made it past the last 32. This term, though, it is all smiles for one of the country's most competitive but most hospitable leagues.

Before Guisborough's big day on Sunday, Whitby entertain Mossley, from the North West Counties League, tomorrow while Bedlington Terriers travel to Humberside to take on North Ferriby, of the Northern Counties East League. North Ferriby's attack will be led by Andy Flounders, the former Hull City striker who helped Brigg win the Vase last year. The only all- southern quarter-final pairs two Icis League sides: Northwood and Banstead.

In the GM Vauxhall Conference, Halifax have put their former manager, George Mulhall, plus the former West Bromwich midfielder Kieran O'Regan in temporary charge of team affairs following last weekend's departure of John Carroll and his assistant, Billy Rodaway.

The England semi-professional side play their first fixture this season on Tuesday, when they meet the Republic of Ireland at St Patrick's Athletic's ground in Dublin.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own