NEWPORT County AFC fans will be coming down from a day out to Wembley that will live long in the memory.

While they lost the FA Cup fourth round replay to Tottenham Hotspur on paper, the Exiles will come away from the competition a winner in a different sense.

The financial benefits of a cup run which saw wins against Walsall, Cambridge, Leeds United, and a shock draw against Spurs, have been well-documented.

But the club have also come out the other side of the 2-0 defeat - itself a respectable scoreline for a League Two side - having charmed fans both in Newport and across the footballing world.

For four months the city and its team became fell under a media spotlight not seen since the club reformed.

High-profile pundits from across the world embraced the club’s unlikely journey on television, radio and football podcasts.

And national media were there again on Wednesday, filming the hundreds of supporters waiting for their Newport County AFC Supporters Club buses.

Some County convoys were also joined by TV crews hoping to soak in the atmosphere along the M4.

But many fans remained in Newport and its pubs and clubs, toasting the club’s success and eagerly anticipating the match to come.

One fan in particular, Graham Williams, made sure that a stay in the Royal Gwent Hospital did not stand in his way of following his beloved club of 70 years.

The 80-year-old, who broke his hip at the end of December, kept tabs on the match with a radio beside his bed.

“I’ve been a County fan since I was about 10-years-old. I can remember going to my first game at Somerton Park, on Cromwell Road. It could even have been a cup game,” said Mr Williams, before the game.

“The nurses have been so good to me by letting me have the radio in here. I can’t thank them enough. I feel very lucky.”

Another fan that enjoyed a place centre-stage in the build-up to the incredible 1-1 draw between County and Spurs at Rodney Parade was steelworker Sean Edwards.

The father-of-two’s poem “A Cup Run For All” was the subject of an FA Cup-commissioned video used to drum up excitement before last month’s match.

Mr Edwards recited lines of his poem along with Hollywood actor Michael Sheen and County fans and players.

And before setting off on his own trip to Wembley, he issued one last rallying cry to the travelling Amber Army with a new poem, “Wembley Bound”:

There’s an exodus of amber. All heading east

To a most famous stadium. For a footballing feast

By train some will travel. Most will hit that long road

Heading to London to a famous postcode

The Hotspurs will be waiting under the Wembley floodlights

For another instalment. Can we reach those same heights

In a arena so grand. Where the best leave a mark

It’s not Rodney Parade. Or even Somerton Park

Yet for one night only. Thousands of Exiles will grace

Dreaming of the improbable. A win that they chase

And if that win was to come. What a party there would be

North London will be rocking to the sounds of County

What a moment it might be. A magic moment to share

And even better still. To say you were there.


And on they went, Newportonians departing their homes hoping to find a place in their own Promised Land - a place in the fifth round against Rochdale.

While the surface at Spotland Stadium is a far cry from the “Land of Milk and Honey”, many fans who made the trip to London remained confident that another upset was on the cards.

Upon arriving at Wembley for the third time in ten years, the travelling fans carried unbridled faith in their players and manager Mike Flynn.

And that was clear throughout the evening - from the pre-match gathering at a nearby pub, to the rapturous applause given to their players during the warm-up.

And for the first 25 minutes, County kept the Premier League side at bay, buoyed by a vocal support that outshone that of the home fans.

Even when Dan Butler unfortunately put the ball into his own net, the Amber Army were on hand to pick their players up and urge them to push on.

And this continued throughout the game - after every mistake, regained possession and surging run into the Spurs half.

In the second half the home side had plenty of chances to add to their scoreline either side of Erik Lamela’s goal.

But County were brave and, like their passionate support, battled until the end where Padraig Amond had his chance for a consolation.

When the final whistle sounded there was applause around the stadium, and one can bet that Spurs fan saved some of their claps for their side’s opponents.

After the match Mike Flynn was beaming with pride for his players and the effort they put in on the night.

And their performance did not go unnoticed, with thousands taking to social media to shower County with compliments.

Even BT Sport, which has helped to play a part in boosting the club coffers, said the fans had done their club proud.

But what next? Forest Green Rovers at home on Saturday.

One would hope that the cup run will boost attendances, and give the players that have shown so much during this journey the support they undoubtedly deserve.