Godmanchester Rovers are expected to learn their FA Vase fate today (Thursday)
The local club face a Football Association hearing at Wembley after being charged with allegedly fielding an ineligible player in their historic fourth-round success against Sporting Khalsa on January 5.
Midfielder Chris Hyem played for Rovers in that victory at the David Wilson Homes Ground, but it appears he should have been suspended due to being booked in the two previous rounds of the national competition. That’s a new ruling introduced this season.
Manager Ollie Drake told the Hunts Post that Rovers have hired a solicitor to fight their case, with club officials convinced there has been no wrongdoing on their part.
He also spoke of the immense strain of the last few days for all connected with the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division leaders.
Drake said: “I don’t mind admitting it has been the toughest time of my career in football.
“I described the win against Sporting Khalsa as my finest moment in the game and it is horrible to be in a position where it could be taken away – not just for myself, but for everyone who was a part of it and is connected to the club.
“It has affected us all personally and professionally.
“We do not believe we are in the wrong and we have hired a solicitor to fight our corner.
“All we can do is put across our case to the FA and wait for the outcome of the hearing, but it is difficult to explain how we are feeling.
“I guess it can be compared to being given a promotion at work, going home and celebrating with your family and friends, and then potentially having it taken away due to an admin issue.
“That’s where we are right now and we all hope for a positive outcome on Thursday.”
Rovers have been drawn away to former winners Sholing in the fifth round on February 2 and Drake revealed they have already had the Hampshire side watched despite the possibility of being removed from the competition.
Worryingly for Rovers, another team who had reached the last 16 of the FA Vase – Coventry United – have also been thrown out for fielding a suspended player.
Rovers haven’t let the situation affect their performances on the pitch after picking up two valuable league victories in recent days.
A 2-1 triumph at Whitton United last Tuesday and a 3-2 verdict at Wroxham last Saturday kept them in pole position in the Premier Division, although title rivals Histon had the chance to overtake them last night (Tuesday).
More on Rovers: page 71.