Lincoln United chairman Allen Crombie

“You can’t help but think of Wembley when you get this close.”

Lincoln United are now just two games away from a cup final at England’s national stadium – Wembley.

The Whites’ face Romford FC in the Isuzu FA Vase semi-finals, across two-legs, with a date at the country’s biggest stadium within reach.

Speaking exclusively to LincSport, club chairman Allen Crombie, said: “For me, the semi-final is so emotional. It’s not just about the people that are here now, which are doing a fantastic job being the scenes, it’s about the people from the past. It’ll be huge for Lincoln United to get to Wembley. It’s something I always dreamed of playing in.”

Crombie has been a childhood fan, player, manager and now chairman for Lincoln, across a connection with the club that spans over five decades.

He said: “The football club has got really good history, and I’ve been a long time around it. Since the late ’60s, I’ve been watching Lincoln United. That sits up their with the best we’ve done.”

Crombie managed the club as they reached their FA Cup first round proper for the first time, in 1991/92 when they faced Huddersfield Town.

“To get volunteers at this level is really difficult, we’re lucky that we’ve got volunteers in abundance. And it’s hard work, they don’t watch the football, they’re concentrating on what they’re doing…it’s going to be great for them if they can get a trip to Wembley to watch Lincoln United, and a day where they don’t have to do any work,” he said.

The chairman added that is “makes it all worthwhile” to see the team doing so well on the pitch.

Lincoln United chairman Allen Crombie
Chairman Allen Crombie is a former Whites’ player and manager, and even has a stand named after him at Ashby Avenue.

United have reached the semi-finals by beating Deal Town in a dramatic penalty shootout. Crombie described it as a “tough game”.

He added: “We were delighted to get through. We’ve just got the knack at the minute of getting through on penalties. So, hopefully we can take that forward and go again in the next round.”

The victory booked United a place in the FA Vase semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history, beating a past record of reaching the quarter-finals.

“It’s a different scenario having the two legged game for the boys. So come leaving Romford, as long as we’re in the tie, we will come here and have a right go at it,” Crombie said.

Lincoln travel to Romford on Saturday, March 30, before hosting the return leg on Saturday, April 6. Crombie believes this gives The Whites’ an advantage.

He said: “As a club, it’s great for us. We can go away and it’ll be a funny scenario, if we get half-way through the tie, to bring them back and be well in the game, it’s a different way of playing. For once, it won’t go the penalties in the first game.”

United have won three consecutive penalty shootouts in the Isuzu FA Vase, beating South Liverpool, Hallam FC and Deal Town to reach the semi-finals.

Lincoln United's Ashby Avenue
Lincoln United beat Deal Town on penalties, after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

The quarter-final, at Ashby Avenue’s Sun-hat Villas & Resorts Stadium, brought over 900 spectators through the gates.

Crombie expects even more for the next round, saying: “I think we’re looking at 1,000 plus, and we’re taking a good following to Romford as well. I think the result will depend a lot on that. If we’re in with a shout for that second-leg, we’ll get over 1,000 easily.”

He signed for Lincoln City and Boston United during his playing days, while he managed Grantham later in his footballing career.

The FA Vase brings with it a big financial boost. The winner of the final, which will take place in May, receives £30,000. This means the winning club would guarantee around £47,000 for making it through the entire competition.

Crombie explained how much of an impact the potential cash boost would have. He said: “A lot of the money comes in through sponsorship, which has been absolutely unbelievable this year, but to top that up with some prize money in different competitions is huge.”

He added: “So, £47,000 for Lincoln United football club over the season is huge. It helps us move on for next season.”

The Whites’ are still fighting for a quadruple this season, having won the Lincolnshire FA County Senior Trophy earlier in March. A potential date at Wembley is now only two games away.

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