The FA Cup comes to Charlton this Saturday – but the action won’t be taking place at The Valley.
While the relegated Addicks begin their League One campaign at Bury, hundreds of smaller sides up and down the country will be playing in the Cup’s extra preliminary round.
Making their debut this year will be Bridon Ropes FC, who’ll be playing Canterbury City at Meridian Sports Ground on Charlton Park Lane.
If the Ropes can beat Canterbury, they’ll be 12 more wins away from the Wembley final.
The side began life in 1935 as the works team of British Ropes, based off Anchor & Hope Lane. The ropeworks are long gone, but the team remains and now plays in the Southern Counties East League Division 1, in the 10th tier of English football.
The Ropes share Meridian Sports with fellow local side Meridian VP. It’s a tidy little ground, recently redeveloped with a small seated stand and a bar close by. I snuck in there last September to see the end of their match against Kent Football United, a late winner grabbing victory for the home team.
Admission was only £5 that day, so it’s a bargain alternative for anyone alienated by the goings-on at The Valley, where Charlton are now charging at least £20 if you buy your ticket in the two hours before kick-off.
So if you’re itching to support your local team in the Cup and can’t wait until November, head to Meridian Sports Club on Saturday.