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Stratford Town's FA Cup tie against Long Eaton United the dream draw for Bards director Andy Chilton

DIRECTOR Andy Chilton was left in complete shock after finding out that Stratford Town would be playing Long Eaton United in the FA Cup third qualifying round.

Stratford Town director Andy Chilton. Photo: Craig Gibbons
Stratford Town director Andy Chilton. Photo: Craig Gibbons

The 60-year-old was born in Long Eaton and spent 25 years in the Derbyshire town before moving to Stratford where he has spent the last 35 years of his life.

Chilton still has a strong connection with his hometown and presents the Harry Chilton Trophy – a Long Eaton Sunday League competition named in memory of his father who passed away in 1993 – to the cup winners every May at Grange Park, the home of Long Eaton United.

After the Bards thrashed Nuneaton Borough 4-0 in the second qualifying round, deep down Chilton was hoping Long Eaton United would be Stratford’s next opponents – and at 1pm last Monday that wish came true.

“I was completely shocked because I always fear the worst when it comes to FA Cup draws,” said Chilton. “After we beat Nuneaton I said on Saturday the dream draw would be Long Eaton at home.

“Then on Monday I got an email from our secretary, Chris Stephens, that we drew Long Eaton and I just could not believe it.

"I thought it must be fate because my dad was so involved with Long Eaton football and then I’m doing my bit with my local club. It seems things have come full circle.”

The tie, scheduled to take place at the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday, has already been dubbed the ‘Andy Chilton Derby’ on social media.

Although Chilton has a soft spot for Long Eaton United, there’s no doubting he’ll be cheering on the Bards come matchday.

“Long Eaton is where I am from and all my friends and schoolfriends are from there so there is that soft spot, but I’ll certainly be pulling for Stratford Town,” he said.

“I’ve spent more of my life in Stratford and I’m a director at the club so I’ll definitely be cheering on the Bards, although there will be a little part of me rooting for Long Eaton.”

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