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Wembley FC start FA Cup challenge

Training is complete, the tactics decided and, finally, the talking can stop.

It's arrived. The big day everyone has been waiting for all summer is here.

At last we can sit back and discover the answer to what we're all itching to know.....will the mother of all publicity stunts last longer than 90 minutes?

No, it's not just the Blue Square Bet Premier that's having its curtain raised this weekend.

It's the opening round of the FA Cup, with the extra preliminary round which, if you're upto speed with the transfer coups of the summer, can mean only one thing, Wembley FC's new wonders are about to get their boots back on.

For those that haven't seen what the club’s new sponsors Budweiser are up to, you're in for a treat.

El Tel and former internationals all sign up 

It started in late March as Terry Venables (pictured) got people talking, taking over as 'technical advisor'.

Few people knew what that meant exactly, but all was about to become clear.

El Tel soon had company. Former internationals including Ray Parlour, Martin Keown, Graeme Le Saux, Claudio Caniggia and Brian McBride had all signed for the Combined Counties Premier club but would play only in the FA Cup, sponsored, of course, by the American brewing giant.

It led the NLP to ask the question – welcome extra publicity and some good harmless fun, or has the non-league game become the Bud of the joke?

We could get the answer today as the old timers take to the field against Langford.

With £1,000 up for grabs for the winner, what the Spartan South Midlands side make of it all is anyone's guess.

Positives for the experiment 

Or, for that matter, the players dropped to make way for the celebs after a solid 1-0 first day victory at Raynes Park Vale.

However, there are positives to be taken from the experiment, as the new boys know all about the competition.

Parlour, dubbed the Romford Pele by Arsenal fans, has won it four times, including the crowning moment of his career, a sensational 30-yard strike to open the scoring in the 2002 final with Chelsea.

Keown has lifted the FA Cup three times, while Le Saux has a medal from the year 2000 at Chelsea.

Vanables himself won it as player and as manager of Tottenham, getting the retired legends back in the groove and winning over the sceptics is his biggest challenge to date.

By Sam Elliott, The Non-League Paper

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