Team Solent are expecting a record crowd when they host FA Vase favourites South Shields in the last sixteen of the competition on Saturday.
Around four hundred Mariners supporters are set to travel the length of the country as their side look to make it into the quarter finals of the competition for the first time since 1976, when they were beaten by Friar Lane Old Boys.
The North East club are averaging gates of over 1,200 for their home gates this season, the highest at step five of the pyramid by some distance.
Their record for the season is 2,651, when Mariners Park was packed as they went down to a 1-0 defeat against Northern League leaders and former Vase winners North Shields.
Meanwhile Sydenhams Wessex League club Team Solent have a record attendance of around 400, set in November 2015 when they hosted Salisbury.
Their record attendance was nudging 400 when Steve Claridge’s Salisbury visited Test Park in November 2015.
Saturday’s game should break that record.
“We sent them 400 tickets and, last I heard, they’d sold the majority of them” Team Solent chairman Bill Moore told the Daily Echo.
“I wrote in my programme notes for the Vase matches against Bodmin (1-0) and Croydon (3-0) that it was the biggest game in our history and now I’ve written it again for Saturday!
“We had around 150 for the Croydon game, most of them local, and it would be nice if a few more would turn out to support us this weekend.”
“If you get big gates, you’ve normally got a good side to go with it and, looking at their pen pictures, they’ve got some very experienced players,” said Moore.
“Our team is much younger, with an average age of 20 or 21, and my only concern would be our level of experience compared to theirs.
“But from an academic point of view, this Vase run is a great experience for the students. It’s all part of their development with Southampton Solent University.
“From a Uni perspective, it demonstrates what we’ve got to offer here, not only in terms of having good, young players, but also good management and a strong coaching structure.”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Quotes: Daily Echo