UNDERDOGS Maltby Main go into this weekend's Sheffield Senior Cup final on a quest to win the historic trophy for the club's unsung heroes and small but dedicated band of supporters.
Not since the days of flares and the golden age of disco in the 1970s have the team from Muglet Lane graced local football's showpiece final.
If they're to emulate the Class of '78 and win the world’s fourth oldest surviving cup football competition, they're going to have to overcome higher league Worksop Town at the Eco-Power Stadium in Doncaster tomorrow (7.30pm).
Main are the underdogs against the Tigers, who have lifted the cup 12 times, but the motivation of springing a shock on behalf of all the people at the “little club with a big heart” drives them.
Manager John Stancliffe (right) told the Advertiser: “For Maltby to win the cup would be unbelievable. We survive with a great fan base. They're not the largest, they're one of the smallest in the league, but they are very passionate.
“Getting to the final has helped put the club back on the map for the local area but to bring this trophy back to the village would be a special achievement and I'd be thrilled, especially for the committee. They are all volunteers and give their time to keep the club going.
“In a way, it's them I'm looking to win it for.”
The final has come at an awkward time for Main.
They finished their Northern Counties East League season nearly a month ago while Worksop didn't complete their Northern Premier League East Division campaign until last weekend and are therefore match sharp.
Stancliffe acknowledged: “As much as we train, it doesn't equate to match time but we have been training at high intensity.
“Worksop are higher league and play right up until the final.
“Of course we are underdogs but sometimes underdogs prevail.”
While the extra time means Main won't be carrying a big contingent of walking wounded, it has given the manager more time to fret about the big night.
“If I'm being honest I've had a few sleepless nights just thinking about tactics and formations and about having to name a team and a squad and knowing a couple of lads are going to miss out,” he said.
“It's part of the job but it's not a nice part, especially for a final. There may be a few sleeping tablets on Friday night!”
Maltby Main manager John Stancliffe.
The manager and former Main goalkeeper will have support from his mum, dad Paul - the former Millers favourite - fiancee and two daughters at the final.
He is also grateful for the opportunity to become a cup winner only a few months after he stepped up to take over following Louis Axcell's dismissal. Axcell was in charge when Main won their semi-final against Parkgate.
“Personally, it would mean a hell of a lot to me to win,” said John. “Just coming into the post recently and leading the club into the final is a good honour and I've had lots of goodwill messages.
“Whatever happens, I can take pride in I'm the manager of Maltby in a Senior Cup final for the first time in 44 years.”
“We're all good to go,” added Stancliffe. “We're champing at the bit for the final to come around.
“The lads are training really well and there's a real hunger in their eyes.”
Much more on the match in this week's Advertiser.
Tickets are on sale now, priced at £8 for adults, £5 for seniors (65+) and £1 for under 17s, and can be purchased in advance on Club Doncaster’s website: tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk