Horndean boss Michael Birmingham's message of good luck to Portsmouth area clubs as they look to put city on the map through FA Vase exploits - just like US Portsmouth

Horndean manager Michael Birmingham followed US Portsmouth's remarkable FA Vase run closely last season - now he is hoping his squad can enjoy a similar fairytale.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 9th September 2021, 11:04 am
Horndean boss Michael Birmingham. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 100721-43)
Horndean boss Michael Birmingham. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 100721-43)

But the Deans boss stressed if his side aren't to make an impression on this season's competition, he at least wants a Portsmouth area non-league club to put their name on the map.

Horndean host Wessex League Premier Division rivals Hamble Club in an FA Vase first round qualifying contest on Saturday.

Birmingham revealed how he joined in some of the US Portsmouth celebrations on their way to reaching the semi-final of the nationwide tournament last term.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Deans boss had a close connection to the club with son Harry, who moved to Moneyfields this summer, part of that record-breaking US Portsmouth team.

And ahead of Horndean's FA Vase tie with Hamble, Birmingham recalled some of the great memories which will always remain from USP's amazing efforts last season – and ones he wants to see replicated by the Deans or another Portsmouth area club.

‘You’re not going to play any teams at a higher level then you’re at (in the FA Vase). It’s a great opportunity, but there are a lot of teams who are thinking the same,’ said the Deans boss Birmingham.

‘If you have a look at United Services (Portsmouth) last season, they did extremely well getting through to the last four, it really gave everyone a buzz.

‘I was motivated watching it, obviously my son (Harry Birmingham) was involved, it was great.

‘The games they did win, I’d leave Horndean to go to meet Glenn Tunbull (then US Portsmouth boss) and Pete Seiden (Moneyfields chairman), while celebrations were going on.

‘Id go to meet them, have a drink and congratulate the players as well. It’s great, as much as there is a lot of rivalry around local football - there are six clubs (PO postcode) in the Wessex Prem, you still want a PO or local club to do well. I think that really brought that on last year.’

Horndean will be welcoming a Hamble side sure to be intent on correcting a heavy defeat at Five Heads Park last month.

The Deans ran out emphatic 7-0 winners when they met in the league earlier this season.

But Birmingham is expecting a completely different challenge when they face off in the FA Vase.

He added: ‘We played Hamble the other week and they had five players missing. We know Hamble is going to be a tough, tough, game, they always are, they’re always very close games between us.

‘They had five players missing so, at the end of the day, we’re not taking this game lightly.

‘I’ve got the boys in tonight, the ones who aren’t playing, they’ll be in training so they’re ready for Saturday.’

First, Horndean face their third game in just six days when they host the Royal Navy in the Hampshire Senior Cup first round tonight (7.45pm).