We bring you a complete guide to this weekend’s FA Cup visitors, Kidsgrove Athletic.
A is for Average Attendance
Kidsgrove have been attracting an average attendance of around 130 for home games this season though they hope that will grow if they remain in play-off contention.
B is for Brains
Will Saxon is known as one of the most intelligent members of the Kidsgrove squad. He’s recently got himself a new job which requires him to be in London – meaning he will have to travel from there on the morning of the game rather than travel with the squad the day before!
C is for Close To Home
Kidsgrove is just down the road from League Two side Port Vale – the two clubs have an excellent relationship and play each other in pre-season friendlies every year.
D is for Dundas
Scott Dundas is regarded by many experienced Kidsgrove fans to be the club’s greatest player of all-time. He was a regular scorer for the club as they climbed through the lower levels and is now managing Chasetown.
E is for European Experience
Chris Budrys is one of the veterans of a generally young Kidsgrove squad but he boasts Europa League experience having played in the competition during his time in the Welsh League with Airbus.
F is for Fitzjohn
Mick Fitzjohn returned as Kidgrove’s Chairman in November 2015 after taking some time away to focus on his business interests in the flooring and construction industries. His return helped steady this ship after some troubled financial times.
G is for Grove
The club’s nickname has always simply been The Grove.
H is for Help From Your Friends
Athletic have a good relationship with local club Stoke City where their Assistant Manager Josh Brehaut also works so that has helped them sign promising young duo Jacob Twyford and James Butler from The Potters.
I is for International
Kidsgrove had international pedigree within their squad last season when Trinidad & Tobago midfielder Chris Birchall joined following a long association with local rivals Port Vale.
J is for Janet Cooper
The main Director of Kidsgrove is Janet Cooper, the wife of the Vice-Chairman Ian, and her work has helped the club prosper in recent years. Janet handles the day to day running of the club but the pair get involved in everything and have even had responsibility for the Match Programme recently.
K is for Kidsgrove
Kidsgrove is a former coal-mining town in the borough of Newcastle-Under-Lyme and has a population of around 24,000.
L is for Lime Green
Kidsgrove will be in their lucky third kit when they take to the pitch at The Super 6 Stadium this weekend. The Staffordshire outfit wrote to The FA at the start of the season for permission to play in a one-off kit for the competition and they chose a striking lime green which has brought them luck so far. Striker Ant Malbon initially refused to wear it because of the colour but he’s happy to pull it on now as the FA Cup run gathers pace!
M is for Malbon
Younger Kidsgrove fans will probably tell you that current striking star Ant Malbon is the best player to pull on an Athletic kit. A prolific striker for the club over a number of seasons, he’s already well in to double figures this term and also acts as Assistant Groundsman – no wonder he’s a legend!
N is for Novus Stadium
Known traditionally as Collinwood Road, Athletic’s home ground is now known as The Novus Stadium following a sponsorship deal.
O is for On The Road
There are four coaches booked to carry Kidsgrove fans to this weekend’s game with an expected away following of around 250 to 300 at The Super 6 Stadium.
P is for Premier League Experience
Lee Williamson offers top flight experience to the Athletic midfield having played in the Premier League for Blackpool. The former Mansfield Town star is good friends with Grove boss Ryan Austin who tempted him to sign for the Staffordshire outfit.
Q is for Qualifying Rounds
The Grove have already battled their way through an impressive four qualifying rounds to set-up this weekend’s game.
R is for Rumenio
The Portuguese youngster proved the hero in the last round with an extra-time winner against Workington. Still only 18, he loved his loan spell at Kidsgrove so much that a deal was done for his stay to be made permanent.
S is for School Days
Among the occupations in the Athletic squad there are two teachers – Alex Morris and Chris Budrys both spend their days in the classroom so will be hoping to have some more success stories for their pupils after the weekend.
T is for Training
The Kidsgrove players train twice a week at a local sports centre called Northwood Stadium. Helpfully, the Club Secretary and Vice-Chairman’s sister Clare Balmer works there and is able to pull in some favours for the team.
U is Usual Colours
Although they will don lime green for Saturday’s cup tie, Kidsgrove’s usual attire is blue and white – the home colours they have used since their inception in 1952.
V is for Viva Las Vegas
Kidsgrove Chairman Mick Fitzjohn is usually fairly generous with his players, paying for an end-of-season trip to Benidorm during the last two or three years – though we hear he has to hide that spending from his wife! However, this time around he’s upped the ante with his Grove squad, saying that he will fly them all to Las Vegas in May if they win the league and make the First Round Proper of the FA Cup!
W is for Wishlist
If Kidsgrove could get through this weekend’s tie then the money would help secure their future for next season and give them some funds towards projects to buy new floodlights and install a gym at the stadium to bring in more funds.
X is for X-Files
Crewe Alexandra manager Dave Artell is an ex-Kidsgrove star, as is former Cambridge United striker Trevor Benjamin who counts Athletic as one of his 29 clubs during a well-travelled career.
Y is for Younger Days
Former Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday striker and current BBC football pundit Mark Bright went to Maryhill High School in Kidsgrove.
Z is for Zero
Kidsgrove have played seven times in cup competitions this season – and so far they’ve not suffered a single defeat.