I think we can make an upset on Sunday and I know the boys are really up for it, says Bromley captain Jack Holland
BROMLEY player-coach Alan Dunne says he wants some of his own personal FA Cup glory to rub off on his team-mates on Sunday lunchtime.
Neil Smith takes his side to League One side Bristol Rovers in The FA Cup First Round on Sunday, aiming to smash 74 years’ of hurt and become the first Bromley side to reach the Second Round for the first time since 1945.
Bromley sit proudly at the top of the Vanarama National League table with 36 points from their 16 league games, while Graham Coughlan has guided Bristol Rovers to ninth-place in the League One table with 25 points from their 16 league outings.
“It’s been a Cup competition that’s been good to me while I was at Millwall over the years,” said Dunne, 37, when being interviewed on Bromley’s website www.bromleyfc.tv.
“I was part of the squad that reached the Final in 2004, beating Sunderland at Old Trafford and then going on to play the Final at Wembley (in fact it was the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff) against Manchester United and being a part of that and watching the people you watch on TV every week.
“It was a great experience and then (in 2013) that we managed to reach the Semi-Final. We beat Blackburn over two legs in the Quarter-Finals, we had a replay back at Ewood and we had the Semi-Final at Wembley against a Wigan side who went on to win it and beat Man City!
“It’s been a Cup competition that has been good to me over the years and I’m privileged enough to say I’ve got a FA Cup Final medal.”
Bromley are taking at least 500 fans to Bristol and most are taking advantage of free coach travel that has been paid for my chairman Robin Stanton-Gleaves.
This is the eighth time that Bromley have reached the First Round of The FA Cup in the last 13 years but their record is hurting the Hayes Lane faithful. They have never beaten a Football League club in this famous Cup competition and they have lost their last 11 games at this stage.
But Smith’s class of 2019 have the Hayes Lane faithful believing that, finally, this is going to be Bromley’s year!
“Look, it’s a great competition, something that you watch as a kid growing up and a competition where it adds many surprises and you see that every year,” added Dunne.
“There’s always a team that causes an upset. It’s a competition where the lower teams can cause upsets so it’s a competition that we all look forward to when it comes around.
“Look, our focus has ultimately been the league. We’ve watched them, we’ve had them watched. There’s some players there that I’ve played with at Millwall over the years, the captain Tony Craig, Ed Upson, both players that have come from Millwall.
“We’ve done a bit of homework on them, they’re a league side who are in form at the moment, having a good season themselves but like all teams they have weaknesses and we look to expose them.”
Bromley captain Jack Holland is keen to bring some long-awaited FA Cup glory to his home-town club.
The centre-half will be tested alongside his partner Chris Bush at the Memorial Ground on Sunday and goalkeeper Ryan Huddart will have to have the game of his life to make it a super Sunday for Bromley.
“It’s being claimed we’re not meant to be doing anything in this game. I think it’s the odds are stacked against us but I think that’s where we shine as a club,” said Holland.
“I think being the underdogs we kind of raise our games as it were. I’m looking forward to it. I think we can make an upset on Sunday and I know the boys are really up for it.”
Anything can happen, they say. The Magic of The Cup, they say. Well, it’s finally time to make it happen and finally bury the ghost of 1945. Neil Smith’s class of 2019, we’re fully behind you! Let’s make it a memorable day at the Memorial Stadium!
Bromley’s FA Cup Heartbreak:
Reached the Second Round:
1937-38 – Away – Scarborough – Lost 1-4
1938-39 – Away – Lincoln City – Lost 1-8
1945-46 – Home - Watford – Lost 1-3 and Drew 1-1 (away)
Reached the First Round:
1938-38 – Away – King’s Lynn – Won 4-0
1938-39 – Home - Apsley – Won 2-1
1945-46 – Home - Slough United - Won 6-1 and Lost 0-1 (away)
1947-48 – Home - Reading – Draw 3-3 and Lost 0-3 (away)
1949-50 – Home - Watford – Lost 1-2
1950-51 – Away – Aldershot – Draw 2-2 and Lost 0-1 (home)
1951-52 – Away – Torquay United – Lost 2-3
1976-77 – Away – Swindon Town – Lost 0-7
1996-97 – Home – Enfield – Lost 1-3
Reached the First Round as a Conference South Club (having to win three games to get there):
2006-07 – Away – Gillingham – Lost 1-4
2009-10 – Home – Colchester United – Lost 0-4
2011-12 – Away – Leyton Orient – Lost 0-3
2012-13 – Away – Fleetwood Town – Lost 0-3
2014-15 – Home – Dartford – Lost 3-4
Reached the First Round as a National League club (having to win one game to get there):
2017-18 – Away – Rochdale – Lost 0-4
2018-19 – Home – Peterborough United – Lost 1-3
2019-20 – Away – Bristol Rovers –
Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.tv
Bristol Rovers v Bromley
The Emirates FA Cup First Round
Sunday 10 November 2019
Kick Off 12:45pm
at Memorial Stadium, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol, BS7 0BF