A life-long Bedford Town fan has put out a rallying call for football troops to turn out for this weekend’s crucial FA Trophy qualifying match against Weston-Super-Mare.
Barry Stephenson, 71, says the crowd’s support will play a key part in helping the Eagles to claim victory in the home match.
Bedford has reached the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy, having already beaten Chipstead, Brightlingsea and Chippenham.
Although Weston-Super-Mare is the favourite to win - being two divisions above Bedford - Barry said: “We are hoping it will be a giant killing game for us.
“It is going to be a big challenge, so we would like as many people to be there as possible to roar the team on to success.
“They need lots of encouragement and hopefully they will raise their game like they did against Chippenham, who were favourites to win.”
It’s the best Bedford Town has done in the competition for some years - 40 years ago the team made it to the semi-finals but, hindered by their top goal scorer being suspended, victory hopes were dashed when they lost to Scarborough, who went on to lift the trophy at Wembley.
Barry said: “On the day they were the better team and they went on to win the final.”
Weston-Super-Mare’s players are coming to Saturday’s game having lost their last match and after suffering the recent departure of head coach Micky Bell.
“It is going to be a bit of a banana skin for them,” said Barry, who lives in Putnoe, Bedford, and was introduced to the world of football by his father.
He said: “Once I had watched a game I was hooked for the rest of my life.”
Bedford Town will face Weston-Super-Mare at the Eyrie on Saturday, kick off at 3pm.
Barry said: “It has been a long time since we have had a decent run in the FA Trophy so I hope people will come along and support us and cheer us to victory.
“It should be an exciting game of football.”