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Nottinghamshire club Radcliffe Olympic eye FA Cup glory


Radcliffe Olympic gripped by FA Cup fever

The lowest-ranked team left in the FA Cup are dreaming of a big local tie.

"Mansfield or one of the ex-league clubs," said Jamie Brodie, full-time postman and manager of Nottinghamshire side Radcliffe Olympic. "It would be fantastic."

The Stags are five divisions above Radcliffe and for a chance to play the Blue Square Bet Premier club, Brodie's side need to beat Tipton Town in the third qualifying round on Saturday.

Just being at this stage of the competition is a huge achievement.

It is the first season Radcliffe have qualified for the FA Cup and they have had to win four matches against higher-ranked opposition just to be in with a chance of landing a glamour tie against one of the country's top non-league sides.

What we've achieved has far exceeded what anyone thought we'd get this season
Radcliffe boss James Brodie

Brodie is confident of further progress.

"We've got a good chance. The club's on a real high at the moment. We're hoping [the cup run] lasts as long as possible," he said.

Radcliffe Olympic play in the East Midlands Counties League - step six of the non-league pyramid and a full eight divisions below Championship side Nottingham Forest. None of the players are paid and all have full-time jobs outside football.

Two years ago the team won promotion to the East Midlands Counties League and last season finished fifth, giving them the opportunity to play in the FA Cup.

One to watch

Manager Brodie, a former Derby County schoolboy, has been with them for six years and believes the club, founded in 1876, is on the up.

"The camaraderie between the players is absolutely first class," he said. "The club is run really well behind the scenes. It's a real close-knit community that we've assembled.

"We're gradually trying to get a some younger players through the club. We've got quite a few challenging for a place in the first team."

One of the brightest prospects is striker Josh Royce, who has progressed from the under-18s team this year.

Radcliffe Olympic FC's manager Jamie Brodie holds the FA Cup Trophy
Radcliffe Olympic boss Brodie tries the FA Cup for size

"He's started brightly and I think he's got a very, very good future in the game," Brodie said. "He's a big, strong lad, a cracking ball player with a good first touch."

Radcliffe, whose team include two joiners, two glaziers, a recruitment consultant, some students and a fruit and veg wholesaler, will have to be at their best when they face Tipton Town.

Tipton are runaway leaders in the Midland Football Alliance - step five of the non-league pyramid .

But Brodie, who has been doing his homework on the opposition, is optimistic.

He added: "What we've achieved so far has far exceeded what anyone thought we'd get this season, with it being our first season in the FA Cup.

"But if we apply ourselves correctly, with the home advantage, we'll have a good chance of going through."

That home advantage includes a crowd of passionate supporters expected to top 200.

So far the club have won just short of £10,000 for their cup run and a win on Saturday alone is worth £7,500. But the manager said it meant more than just money.

"It would be fantastic for the village, fantastic for the football club and it would be absolutely brilliant for the local football scene as well," he said.

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