Football legends return to action as Club Website team makes FA Cup history.Wembley FC step into the football spotlight tomorrow as a host of ex-internationals come out of retirement for the club’s FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie.
The semi-pro side – whose website is powered by Club Website – play in the ninth tier of English football, but tomorrow (Saturday) lunchtime their line-up will include over 280-caps worth of international footballing talent.
Ex-England internationals Martin Keown, Graeme Le Saux and Ray Parlour, Argentina legend Claudio Caniggia and 96-cap USA striker Brian McBride will step out for Combined Counties Premier Division side at their Vale Park home for the tie against Langford FC.
Former England boss Terry Venables will marshall the Lions from the dugout in his role as Technical Advisor, acting as a mentor to player-manager Ian Bates.
Venables, an FA Cup winner as both a player and manager, will be joined in the dugout by England legend David Seaman – in place as Wembley FC’s goalkeeping coach.
The big name appointments are part of Wembley FC’s new sponsorship deal with Budweiser and come as part of an ambitious bid for the club to go as far as they can in this season’s FA Cup.
A record gate is expected at Wembley’s newly refurbished Vale Farm ground and the game also marks a moment in broadcasting history as it will be the first time an Extra Preliminary FA Cup tie has been shown on live TV.
ESPN will broadcast the tie live in the UK, while fans around the globe will be able to watch a live stream on Budweiser’s Facebook page at BudUnited.com.
“The FA Cup holds some very special memories for me, from my time as both a player and a manager,” said Venables.
“The new boys coming in have a wealth of experience at the very highest level and people like Ray Parlour have the FA Cup winners’ medals to prove it.
“That can only help the lads here and shine a light on the importance of grassroots football here in the UK and around the world.”
Budweiser’s sponsorship of Wembley FC and the subsequent ‘Galactico’ signings have attracted criticism in some quarters, with claims that the move is just a publicity stunt for the US brewer that devalues the oldest cup competition in the world.
Budweiser state that the deal is part of their long-term FA Cup commitment to grassroots football, which will champion clubs at all levels and bringing the romance and heritage of the tournament closer to the fans.
It has provided Wembley FC with some financial security for the future and has enabled the club to improve their facilities, including a clubhouse upgrade and the provision of a team minibus.
Last season Budweiser hosted the first-ever live streaming of a sporting event on Facebook, also involving Wembley FC.
Over 30,000 people watched their Extra Preliminary Round match at Ascot United and now the latest coverage will also help to shine a light on the grassroots game to an unprecedented audience.
Fans of Wembley FC will be awaiting the tie with great anticipation, as will club chairman Brian Gumm, who said that Budweiser’s sponsorship had “given us a future”.
“We know the local community of Wembley has been hotly anticipating this tie since the draw was made and we announced the legends’ eligibility back in June,” said Gumm.
“We’re looking forward to our fans turning up on Saturday to share what will be a brilliant moment in this club’s history.”
You can watch Wembley FC’s FA Cup tie with Langford FC on ESPN tomorrow from 12.30pm (kick-off 12.45). The game will also be streamed live on BudUnited.com.
Wembley’s FA Cup journey will be shown as part of a documentary series Dream.On. The Journey of Wembley FC – to be broadcast on ESPN from 16 August at 10pm.