Despite being a small, quiet brewing town in East Staffordshire, the football in Burton-Upon-Trent has been bubbling up to a historic level in recent years.
This has manifested itself in the form of Burton Albion, who have created club history consecutively for the past two seasons with back-to-back promotions to the SkyBet Championship, and are about create history once again, for a third season in a row.
Whilst 80 teams hope to begin or continue their FA Cup journey this weekend in the first round of the competition, Burton will not be among them, as they go straight into the third round draw for the first time in their 66-year history.
The club’s most memorable FA Cup moment came 10 years ago, when the then Conference side held arguably the biggest club in the world, Manchester United, to a goalless draw in front of a then record attendance at the Pirelli Stadium of 6,191.
One man who remembers the occasion vividly is ex-Brewers midfielder, Chris Hall, who played 90 minutes that day in January 2006, and also in the replay that they went onto lose 5-0 at Old Trafford.
“As soon as I walked in and saw my name in the starting eleven it was beyond my wildest dreams. I felt like a kid really, going out and playing against Manchester United on TV.
“When we actually got drawn we still had to overcome the second round game because it had been postponed.” Hall added.
“We were playing Burscough, and obviously we had to overcome them, so it added a bit of an edge to it because we knew what was on the other side.
“Thankfully we won quite well and it was quite surreal knowing that we were going to go on and play Manchester United.”
The United side that day included faces like Wayne Rooney, and now World Cup winners in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gerard Piqué, but despite that, were unable to score against a resolute Brewers defence.
“My friends were telling me not to injure Rooney because it was the World Cup that year and he was one of the main players then, I never thought I would get the opportunity to play against them.
“It’s quite nice that they are still playing because it makes it still a bit relevant to me, once they retire kids these days won’t remember them. They are all still at the top of their careers so yes, it is special.” Hall said.
Hall, who is now the assistant manager at Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South side, Lincoln United, almost experienced a similar FA Cup feeling this season, when the Whites almost made the first round proper, losing out in the fourth qualifying round to Spennymoor Town.
“It brought a bit of that excitement back, we got a little bit of media attention with us getting to the stage we did and it was good for the club financially and the players there as well.
“For the young lads there it was for them to experience it all, but I desperately wanted to get to that first round and get a big draw. It would have been great.”
Hall was with the Brewers from 2004 to 2007, when he left for Gainsborough, but looks back on his three years with great memories.
“It’s a place where I really want to go back to at some point, just to watch a game because the fans there are great and the club as a whole as well.
“It was a special time and a brilliant time in my life. It’s by far the happiest I’ve been in my football career.”Tweet