The magic of the FA Cup will be at the centre of the football world again this week but, for former Norton United manager Scott Dundas the world’s most famous competition has mixed memories.
The oldest club competition continues on Friday as the only surviving non-league side Chorley entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fourth round.
Norton from Smallthorne, Stoke-On-Trent, reached the FA Cup first round for the first time in their history in the 2014/15 campaign. This led to new investors getting involved with the club which turned into a nightmare scenario as Norton suddenly found themselves £20,000 in debt.
This meant they had to groundshare between four different grounds after been forced out of their home at the Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute stadium. They then disbanded at the end of the season after a rent dispute which Dundas admitted was a difficult time.
“I was there for about five or six years, it was a great community family run club and had good people in charge, it was a great shame when it all fell apart really.” He said
“It was quite difficult, using different facilities for home games because we couldn’t afford to use our own pitch and stuff like that because of things that happened, it was out of our control.
“The lads carried on as professionally as they could and saw out the season, we went to Market Drayton, Kidsgrove Athletic, Newcastle Town and Stafford Rangers, as we had to go there to finish the season off which was never easy because every game was like an away game.
“Once we were in the Evo-Stik level it was never easy to win an away game so the lads did really well towards the end of the season.”
Norton who were formed in 1989, ended up losing 4-0 to Gateshead in their first round tie having played in seven qualifying matches beforehand, and played their final season in the Northern Premier League Division One South.
In tragic circumstances the club couldn’t steady the ship in the out-of-control situation, which saw an emotional farewell in their final game as they finished the season in 11th place. Dundas left the club cherishing memories from his tenure.
He said: “It was a very emotional last game of the season and a lot of people were there to support us, the BBC came down and did a bit of a piece on it. It was not the best situation to be in but I had some great memories there, getting to the first round of FA Cup and a couple of promotions.
“It was people coming in from the outside after the FA Cup run and the ins and outs of it are that they weren’t on the board of directors or on the committee. It was just impossible for us to carry on under the regime that came in so we had to disband unfortunately.
“I think going through the leagues was the best, the cup run was fantastic and put Norton on the map, in doing probably so caused the demise and getting two promotions in three seasons was really good. The lads and the people in and around the club were absolutely fantastic.”