Brackley is getting behind its football team as they face Football League opposition in a competitive match for the first time in their 123-year history this weekend.
The Saints will be travelling to Gillingham today, Saturday, for the first round proper of the FA Cup – and to mark the occasion, Brackley café The Green Room is changing its name to The Red and White Room for as long as Saints remain in English football’s oldest cup competition.
The Green Room opened in September, but owners Gordon and Jane Kille have lived in the local area for the past seven years.
Mr Kille, who regularly attends home and away matches, said: “It is an amazing achievement for the club to make it to the first round of the FA Cup and I think it is really important the town gets behind them.
“We’ve got pictures of the FA Cup in our windows, redecorated the shop in red and white and even have a commemorative cake that will be on sale all week.”
Mr Kille runs the Brackley under 15s side and has cancelled his team’s fixture to allow the team to attend the tie.
He added: “Myself and four of the team made the trip to Barrow on Tuesday last week for the fourth qualifying round replay.
“We left at noon and got back at 4am the next morning, but it was so worth it. We went on the bus with the first team and the players were superb with our lads.”
The Brackley Town Supporters’ Club has also been busy to make the trip to Gillingham as special as possible for travelling Saints fans.
Nathan Hitchcock, of the supporters’ club, said: “We are selling packages for £55 including coach ticket, match ticket and a replica shirt which will have ‘Gillingham v Brackley FA Cup 1st round 9th November ‘13’ printed around club badge.”
Mr Hitchcock was a steward on Tuesday night before resuming his role of helping other club members to sell tickets after the match against Telford. He said: “Saturday will be an early start as I’ll head down to the club for about 9am for the breakfast club and then help with the task of getting supporters on to the coaches, making sure people are allocated with their families, before setting off at around 10am.”
The club itself has been busy handling ticket sales and media coverage.
Club secretary Tim Carroll said: “BBC Radio 5 Live follows a team in each round of the FA Cup through to the final – it was Atherstone who lost to Barrow who lost to Brackley, so now we have plenty of coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live and on ITV, as match highlights will be on the Saturday evening show.”
Janene Butters, general manager of Brackley Town Football Club, said: “Everybody is so excited. I am putting plans in place ensuring all players are looked after pre match.
“Since the announcement we have been working like bees at the club. The supporters’ club has put on more coaches, we have pre-ordered tickets from Gillingham and we have arranged commemorative replica shirts.
“We have packaged the coach, ticket and shirts together and have received a good take up. We also did a big push at the home league game against Telford, making all of our spectators aware of the deals we have on offer.
“Twitter has been going crazy and everybody is spreading the word.”