This Tuesday, September 1, will mark the first FA Cup match in Millbrook’s history – an event which symbolises just how far forward the club has come, according to manager Mackenzie Brown, writes Andrew Clayton.
The Cornish outfit welcome Bridgwater Town from the Western League Premier Division in their maiden tie, the first competitive outing for both teams since play was stopped in March.
After leaving Jenkins Park at the start of the year, to level out the balance between his family, work and football, club servant Brown has returned just six months later and cannot wait to get stuck back in.
He told The Independent: “If I had remained on the sidelines and not got involved, I obviously would’ve been down there supporting, but there would have been a part of me wishing I was in the dugout.
“It’s important that we don’t get over-awed by the situation. Bridgwater look like a fantastic club, everything about them shows that they do things really well and they’re clearly well supported. It shows what we’re up against and they will be a good side. But, that’s to be expected. At that level of football, you don’t get poor teams because if you don’t turn up, you’ll get beaten by a team whether they’re at the bottom or the top.
“We do turn up for these bigger teams and we’ve had some really good performances against the better teams in these games. It’s not an impossible task. I think we can cause an upset.”
The historical importance of the tie is not lost on those at the club either. Last year, the Magpies played in the FA Vase for the first time in over a decade, while a good showing in the Peninsula League East Division looked miles away from their dark days in the East Cornwall League, beset by financial woes. For Brown then, the chance to play in the oldest national football competition in the world is not only an honour for the club, but a marker for where it is going.
“You see clubs around Cornwall, the same old faces in the FA Cup each year and some put a little run together,” he continued. “There’s always a bit of envy when you see the highlights, and you think how you’d like a taste of that.
“I can reflect back on four years ago when the club was in a really precarious position, and things like this seemed so far away. It might be one game, but I still think there’s a bigger picture to it, seeing the progress being made.
“I think there was a little bit of luck involved this year, but we’re a club that people take a little bit more seriously now. We did brilliantly in the Cornwall Senior Cup and Walter Parsons Cup with two semi finals, so I think our inclusion is justified.
“It’s not just these games, but you see the refurbishment at the clubhouse and you can just see the club moving forward. It’s somewhere that you want to be.”