Non League Daily

Northern League Chairman proud of FA Vase performance

It is a league like no other when it comes to supplying finalists for Wembley. For the seventh successive season one of their clubs will be making the exhausting but exhilarating journey to the national stadium.

North Shields will join that grand band on May 9 when they face Glossop North End in the FA Vase final after overcoming Highworth Town 3­0 on aggregate at the weekend It is little wonder Mike Amos, long­serving chairman of the Northern League, is a proud man.

He first made the trip 19 seasons ago when Whitby Town overcame new FA Trophy holders North Ferriby United.

Since then Whitley Bay(pictured above in 2011) have won the Vase four times, three in a row from 2009, followed by Dunston ­who overcame league rivals West Auckland ­ and Spennymoor. West Auckland were again losing finalists last season when they lost to Sholing. Now North Shields, the 1969 Amateur Cup winners, will make the 550­mile round trip for the first time in 46 years .

And Amos has given a revealing insight into why he believes Northern League clubs have a stranglehold on the competition. He says: “We have not lost as many clubs to other leagues as some clubs have. It is because the North East is a pretty tight region.

“If they go to a higher level, they have to move outside for most of their games. There are are hundreds and hundreds more miles involved. Some clubs do not want that situation.

“There are people who use that as a stick to beat the Northern League with and say we lack ambition and so forth. There is a lot of pressure on teams to go up. But why commit financial suicide?

“The ones who stay do so they say because it makes sense financially and in terms of availability of players. That’s why we have some extremely good teams and some good players. You have to respect that judgement.”

Amos has an abiding affection for the Vase, which replaced the Amateur Cup, and cannot wait to walk down Wembley way again. He adds: “It has been a great run and hopefully North Shields can continue our success.

The great thing about the Vase is, it never tarnishes, it never loses its appeal.

“When Whitby won the Vase, it was magic. I was on a high and have been on a high ever since. Every time is special. It is a great competition.”

Article: Ken Gaunt


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