FROM HASHTAG UNITED TO WEMBLEY by Phil Hearn
If non-League football, travel, people-watching and looking at the lighter side of life fascinates you, you can join Phil on his FA Trophy trail. For the 2021-22 season, Phil started at Hashtag United v Chipstead in the FA Trophy 1st Round Qualifying. From there, he followed the winners of each tie all the way to Wembley. He became a sort of groundhopper, but with his path in the lap of the Gods.
The book follows Phil’s travels by train, meeting all sorts of people and visiting the parks, landmarks and pubs of towns and cities before seeing each FA Trophy cup game. He meets supporters with reliable and unreliable facts about their clubs and optimists and pessimists (mainly optimists). He encounters non-League supporters, who love their clubs just as much as Manchester United and Liverpool fans.
The travels take you to Aylesbury to meet Ronnie Barker and David Bowie (or Bowies, in fact), an ex-drug dealer in Stockport and gangsters on trains. He learns how youngsters tell their Mums about breaking up with a girlfriend, how you only need a vocabulary of four words and has to think about his bucket list when meeting a Bishop’s Stortford supporter. You’re bound to discover some fascinating trivia you didn’t know on the way!
Pre-match and post-match beers keep some days moving, and an evening curry often brings a good end to match days. However, the supporters, officials, and players of clubs like Chipstead, Needham Market, Cheshunt and others made the journey a great adventure for Phil. You’ll have to excuse some puns as you follow the trail from Hashtag United to Wembley. So, join Phil as he witnesses eleven FA Trophy ties in ten different towns and cities.
(Publisher: Independently published. September 2022. Paperback: 333 pages)