Spalding United Football Club’s dream of reaching a Wembley final have been left in tatters by the actions of one of their own players.
Third favourites this year, the Tulips are today fighting for their place in the lucrative FA Carslberg Vase – which culminates with a final at the home of English football – after being kicked out of the competition on Monday.
An FA Sub-Committee bizarrely expelled Spalding from the national competition after an inquiry decided that they were guilty of “knowingly fielding an ineligible player” in last month’s second round win at Walsall Wood.
The player in question, Garfield Robinson, was suspended for the fixture having been sent off while playing for another team.
But the Tulips, who performed a thorough background check on the player, had no idea about his ban – as he was suspended under the false name of Louis Robinson.
The Tulips have appealed the decision and have lawyers representing them at today’s hearing. A final decision is expected at around 5pm.
The saga is a bitter blow to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field-based club, who were set for a third round derby with Wisbech Town on Saturday before this week’s events.
The club, who set a new United Counties League record start of 17 wins from as many games on Saturday, have never won the Vase in it’s 40-year history.
This year was widely-regarded as the best chance the Tulips have ever had to reach Wembley. The last south Lincolnshire side to lift the trophy were Stamford back in 1980.