Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio has refused to rule out another huge FA Cup upset in Friday’s fourth-round tie against Wolves.
The Lancashire part-timers defied the odds against Wigan, Peterborough and Derby in previous rounds and are now plotting a giant-killing against Premier League opponents.
Primary school headteacher Vermiglio and his players are under no illusions, but are not ready to let go of the dream just yet.
“I’m talking about a tiny, tiny chance, but while there is we’re going to give it a go. There is a genuine belief there,” he said.
“Why not? You hear about it every so often, every few years there’s something that happens in football that makes you think ‘how did they do that?’ That could be us.”
Vermiglio joked he had been on television more times than Ant & Dec during his National League North side’s giant-killing run.
But he said its impact on Locking Stumps Community Primary School in Warrington and the surrounding community had been profound.
“You’re not just talking about 20 or 30 lads who play football, you’re talking about boys and girls aged four to 11 and their families and friends,” he said.
“The amount of people that it seems to have touched, it’s very humbling and something I’m delighted to be a part of.
“We’re trying to tap into it as much as we can and the quality of the work and the interest and engagement levels at the moment in our school have gone through the roof.”
Chorley’s cup exploits have earned the club almost £350,000 in prizemoney and television appearances, which would help offset the crippling losses caused by coronavirus.
“It’s superb, especially with losing out on around £300-400,000 for the turnover, the foot-fall from ticket sales, so we needed that to fill the gap.”
Vermiglio will be at school before Friday’s 7.45pm kick-off, but skipper Scott Leather, a lift engineer, has booked the day off.
“Some of the players are still working on Friday, I’ve still got to go to work,” Vermiglio said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to leave by 4/5pm and get there before they do.”
Chorley enjoyed one of their finest hours against Wolves in 1986 when they knocked them out of the FA Cup at the same stage, winning 3-0 in a second replay.
Wolves were then in decline after three successive relegations had plunged them into the old Fourth Division, but this time around Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are a different proposition.
“I was looking at my notebook on Monday night getting ready for training on Tuesday and I was just preparing to write a few more notes and my book opened up on (last Saturday’s opponents) Farsley Celtic,” Vermiglio added.
“We had formations and players, so I had (Farsley’s) Tom Allan, left side, centre-half, 6ft 4in, quite immobile, decent left foot, put pressure on him, cause some problems and then I turned the page over…
“(Wolves striker) Fabio Silva, number 17, bought for £35milion. I just started giggling. I think that highlights the gulf we are up against.”
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