The long road to Wembley starts here...

When a supporter of a successful Premier League team is asked: âÂÂWhat is the longest journey in football?â they will instantly waffle on about their trek to the far east of Europe for a Champions League qualifier.

Hitching their way through treacherous weather and hostile surroundings, or spending the night sleeping in an airport departures lounge after they mislaid their passport and were conned out of their last penny on the promise of some magic beans.

When asking a supporter of a Football League team, they will probably all say the same thing.

Up the M6 on a Tuesday night to watch a meaningless match with Carlisle, then breaking down twice on the way home in their usually reliable Citroen Saxo, before abandoning it on the side of the road.

"Carlisle away? On a Tuesday night? Thanks!" 

But ask a non-league fan and the answer will be somewhat different.

This weekend, 402 teams will enter a competition at the Extra Preliminary Round. Every year the entrances increase with a staggering 758 teams taking part this year.

ItâÂÂs unpredictable, inspiring, exhilarating, dramatic, electrifying and yes, I did just look these words up in my thesaurus, itâÂÂs the FA Cup.

ItâÂÂs a competition for amateur footballers to put their skills against the very best professionals.

Where else would you see a 40-year-old plumber, with two left feet, hacking chunks out of the finest players the English football leagues have to offer?

IâÂÂll be attending all 14 rounds of the FA Cup and will be reporting on why itâÂÂs the most passionate and exciting football competition in the world.

IâÂÂll experience football from grass roots level to the highest standard this country has to offer, starting with Dereham Town vs Leiston on August 15 at Aldiss Park.

Leiston had an amazing cup run last year, reaching the First Round after some memorable performances against the likes of Lewes and Fleetwood Town â an achievement they will be hoping to repeat this year.

Dereham were not so lucky, crashing out in the preliminary rounds to Stamford AFC.

The prize everyone's eyes are on... 

The only non-league team to have won the FA Cup to date are Spurs, way back in 1901.

Could this be the year for a team from the nether regions, such as Ramsbottom United or Cockfosters to walk up those Wembley steps to meet the Queen?

How I would love to see that.

Wembley FC, who also kick off their campaign this Saturday, have the Wembley Arch in full view from their Vale Farm ground.

It may be just a stoneâÂÂs throw away but by FA Cup terms the journey couldnâÂÂt be more colossal.

From Abbey Hey to Yaxley, come kick-off all these teams will be dreaming of walking out of the Wembley tunnel on May 15 in all-white Armani suits.

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