WE KNOW WE CAN HACKETT!

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By Matt Bad­cock

STOURBRIDGE may have been busy mak­ing FA Cup mem­o­ries in re­cent years, but boss Gary Hackett says they haven’t had enough just yet.

The Evo-Stik Pre­mier club reached the third round proper last sea­son and pushed League Two Wy­combe Wanderers all the way be­fore los­ing 2-1.

It came on the back of three sec­ond round ap­pear­ances in four sea­sons, as well as a first round ap­pear­ance back in 2009.

This af­ter­noon the Glass­boys wel­come Evo-Stik South Pre­mier side St Ives Town look­ing to take another step for­ward in a com­pe­ti­tion they’ve come to love.

“Hav­ing 3,000 fans at Wy­combe was an amaz­ing day,” Hackett said. “It whets your ap­petite for more. It cer­tainly doesn’t lose that. It’s not, ‘Oh, we’ve been here, it’s not as spe­cial’. That’s not true. It’s still spe­cial. “The FA Cup is still spe­cial for ev­ery­body. Be­ing bru­tally hon­est it’s been de­val­ued for the re­ally big clubs at the top, but that hap­pens. “Very much for the Non-League and Foot­ball League clubs it’s an amaz­ing tour­na­ment. For us Non-League guys get­ting through a few rounds is ex­cit­ing. We’d like another run. But we’ve got to win three more games be­fore we reach that first round proper. We’ve done it five times in eight years but we face a tough prospect in St Ives. They’re in the South­ern Pre­mier, we’ve had them watched, and they are a de­cent side. We’ll need to be on our game.”

As well as the mem­o­ries, the cup runs, the spot­light and the prize money they’ve brought have had a deeper im­pact at the club.

Pro­file

De­fender Dan Scarr bagged a move to the Cham­pi­onship with Birm­ing­ham City, while it’s also helped them to im­prove their ground and grow their fan­base.

“With­out doubt it’s im­proved the fa­cil­i­ties,” Hackett said. “Sec­ondly, it has mas­sively raised the pro­file of the foot­ball club. It’s an eas­ier sell for play­ers com­ing in. As im­por­tant as any­thing it has mas­sively im­proved the fan­base.

“We were the top sup­ported side in our league last year and our gates this sea­son, again, have been very healthy. Sea­son ticket sales have been great too.

“Maybe a few years ago you’d see West Brom, Villa, Wolves shirts in and around Stourbridge. Now you get a de­cent smat­ter­ing of Stourbridge tops around. That’s great to see.

“We’ve got around 24 ju­nior teams now so it’s just raised the whole pro­file. We’ve had some great days and hope­fully we can cre­ate some more.”

Hackett’s side are fifth in their Step 3 di­vi­sion af­ter nine games, but he be­lieves they can play bet­ter.

“It’s a tough league,” Hackett said. “We haven’t been at our best this sea­son so far. We’ve had a lot of new faces, we lost a lot of key play­ers at the end of last sea­son. Our points con­tri­bu­tion has been de­cent, our per­for­mances av­er­age.

“I’m pleased with our at­ti­tude that we’re grind­ing out re­sults when we’re not play­ing well. But I’d like us to play a bit bet­ter and be more em­phatic with our vic­to­ries. It’s not al­ways that easy.”

PIC: Ac­tion Images

CUP KINGS: Stourbridge cel­e­brate last year’s cup ex­ploits un­der man­ager Gary Hackett, inset

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