As we started to make our way home from Deepdale in December we tuned in to the 3rd round draw just in time to hear Sven Goran Eriksson pull out ball number 8 to be followed by David Platt's selection of number 47. That was followed by David Davies telling us that Burnley, that's Nationwide League leaders Burnley, will play Canvey Island.
At that point Canvey Island were the only non league club through to round three, they had beaten Northampton in the second round as we were winning at Deepdale, although Dagenham and Redbridge have since won their replay against Exeter City to join them.
The club was formed in 1926 but information about the early years is difficult to come by. All club records were lost in 1953 in the East Coast floods. It is though, only in the last few years that the club has really progressed and that was following the appointment of Jeff King as manager in 1992.
They played in the Essex Senior League but after success there won a place in the then named Diadora League Division 3 in the 1994/95 season. They finished second behind Collier Row and were promoted to Division 2 for the following season as the league was renamed the ICIS League.
1997/98 saw them win Division Two again on goal difference from Braintree Town with the league renamed the Ryman League. There was no slip up this time in the First Division and rather than being relegated they stormed through and won the league, finishing five points clear of second place Hitchin Town with 90 points from 42 games.
That saw them in the Ryman Premier Division for the first time in the 1999/2000 season and they had a creditable first season finishing fifth with 69 points. With just one club promoted they fell some way short of that, the winners were Dagenham & Redbridge with 101 points.
Last season saw a further improvement and they ended the season in second place with 89 points although again they didn't really come close to promotion with winners Farnborough Town 10 points ahead of them.
That defeat at Croydon came on 1st September and five and a half weeks later they drew 1-1 away to Harrow Borough. Amazingly that draw at Harrow is the only game Canvey Island have not won in any competition since losing to Croydon and that means 26 wins and 1 draw from the last 27 games.
Some of the 26 wins have been in various cup competitions with five of them coming in the FA Cup. If Burnley were to win five FA Cup ties that would ensure a place in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff but for Canvey Island it has won them their first ever place in the 3rd round.
The won the FA Trophy last season winning the final 1-0 against Forest Green Rovers at Villa Park, only the fourth season they have entered it, but only twice before this season have they won through the qualifying rounds in the FA Cup.
This gave them a local derby in round two against Southend, again being drawn at home. For safety reasons the game was moved to Roots Hall and Southend won 2-1.
This season's FA Cup campaign got off to a winning start with a 9-1 home win against Somersett Ambury V&E which was played back in September. That was in the second qualifying round and the reward was an away draw at Halesowen Town in the 3rd qualifying round which was won 2-0.
That equalled their best ever run in the competition, achieved just a year ago, and for the 2nd round they were drawn at home to another Second Division club, Northampton Town. It was Neil Gregory again who was the hero scoring the only goal of the game just as he had done at Wigan three weeks earlier and with that have set up this 3rd round tie with the Clarets.
The names in the Canvey Island team, other than former West Ham and Liverpool defender Julian Dicks, will not be too familiar although there is one name on their team sheet that will be well remembered by some older Clarets fans. Their left back is Chris Duffy and for those who know our club's history we were beaten in the 1947 FA Cup Final at Wembley by Charlton Athletic 1-0. The winning goal, coming in the last minute of extra time, was scored by Chris Duffy.
This Chris Duffy has previously played for Crewe, Wigan and Northwich Victoria and is their record signing.
The Canvey Island squad that beat Northampton was:
Ashley Harrison: Promising young goalkeeper who rejoined the club in July 1999 after a spell with Dover Athletic. Previously played for Southend Manor and Basildon United. He has represented Great Britain Universities.
John Kennedy: Born 19th August 1978 in Newmarket. A former Ipswich midfielder, who has come up through the youth system at the Suffolk Premiership Club, playing 6 games for Ipswich first team and making 2 appearances as sub. He signed for Canvey on the 3rd August 2000.
Chris Duffy: A tall, athletic and skilful midfield player who possesses boundless energy. Became Canvey Island's record signing when joining from Conference side Northwich Victoria for £5,000 in July 1999. Played in the 1996 FA Umbro Trophy final for the Vic's and has also seen service with Crewe and Wigan.
Ben Chenery: Born 28th January 1977. Started his career at Luton Town, on 3rd March 1995 where he made 2 appearances. Joined Cambridge United on 2nd July 1997. Ben made 96 league appearances for the U's, scoring 2 goals, before joining Kettering Town on 22nd July 2000. He joined Canvey in December 2000.
Julian Dicks: Born 8th August 1968 in Bristol. Left back. Signed on November 7th 2001. Julian spent 11 years at West Ham, and has two international 'B' Caps, as well as playing for Birmingham City and Liverpool. West Ham Career: 1988 -93 & 1994-99; League appearances - 159 & 103; League Goals - 29 & 21; Cup appearances 33 & 20; Cup Goals - 7 & 4.
Peter Smith: Born 12th July 1969 in Cannock. Peter last played at Canvey during the 1st round FA Cup clash on 13th November 1995 for Brighton. Joined Brighton in 1994 and made 122 appearances, 18 substitutions and scored 5 goals. He signed from Woking on a two year deal in July 2000, after a loan period.
Wayne Vaughan: Born 15th February 1980. Wayne used to be with Tottenham Hotspur Youth Academy earlier in his career. Lives in Dagenham. He is a left footed striker. Signed for Canvey on the 15th August 2000, for a 2 year period. Played for Essex County and England Schoolboys.
Mark Stimson: Born 27th December 1967 in Plaistow. Another of the Islanders' vastly experienced former professionals, Mark, is a midfielder who started his career at Tottenham Hotspur. Went on to make big-money moves to Newcastle United (£200,000) and Portsmouth (£100,000) and also had spells with Southend (£25,000) and Leyton Orient (free). Totalled over 240 League appearances, and 4 goals before signing for Canvey Island in August 1999. Made his football league debut for Tottenham on the 11th May 1987 v Everton away. (Lost 1 - 0)
Neil Gregory: Born 7th October 1972. in Zambia. Signed from Colchester United. Previous clubs include Ipswich Town, Peterborough (loan) & Torquay (loan). Transferred to Colchester for £50,000 on 26th Mar '98. In the summer of '99 he was on loan to the Boston Bulldogs. After a two month loan period Neil, signed for Canvey on Fri 4th February 2000, on free transfer for a 3 year contract period. Made 119 football league appearances and scored 29 goals.
Adam Miller: A promising 1982 born midfielder signed on the 20th October 2000, from Ipswich Town Youth Academy. Also had a trial with Southend United, and was offered a contract, but a change of management put paid to that.
Steve Parmenter: Born 17th January 1977 in Chelmsford. Signed in November 98 from Kingstonian. Steve was a trainee with QPR (May 1995 - July 1996) before spending two years with Bristol Rovers. He made 18 Football League appearances and scored 2 gaols for Rovers and spent a period with Conference League Yeovil Town. He joined Kingstonian on a free transfer. Played for Wales U21's. Has also played for Southend United as a Youth Trainee.
Micky Bennett: Born 27th July 1969 in Camberwell. Signed from Brighton in August 1999 where he was player of the year. Strong, quick skilful player who is equally at home in midfield or defence. He has also played for Leyton Orient, Cambridge C, Cardiff C, Millwall, Charlton Athletic, Brentford and Wimbledon. Has represented England U19's touring Brazil.
Lee Boylan: Born in Chelmsford on the 2nd September 1978, Lee previously played for: West Ham, Trelleborg, Kingstonian, Exeter, Hayes and Heybridge Swifts. Signed August 17th 2001 after a highly impressive trial period.
Paul Cobb: Signed in August 2001 from Dagenham & Redbridge. previous clubs include Leyton Orient, Enfield and Purfleet. Joined Dagenham in 1997, and scored almost 100 goals for the now conference club.
Spencer Knight: Born in 1978. Signed from Harrow Borough in November 2001. Previous clubs include St. Albans City, Arlsley & Luton Reserves.
Steve Ward: 1972 born central defender who spent many year with Essex neighbours and rivals, Grays Athletic, progressing from the youth and reserve teams to make over 400 appearances for the first team. Steve transferred to Canvey Island in October 1996 for a £3000 fee. He is currently a P.E. teacher in Gravesend.
Jeff King (Manager): A former Canvey Island player, Jeff became assistant manager in the 1991/92 season, stepping up to the manager's job a year later. Aged 41 his term as manager has seen the club's meteoric rise from Essex Senior League to Ryman League Premier Division, an impressive four levels. Jeff is a charismatic leader whose commitment to the club makes him very popular and respected.
Glenn Pennyfather (Coach): Essex boy Glenn Pennyfather made his Southend United debut in 1980 at the tender age of seventeen. He went on to play over 230 games for the Blues as a battling, hard-tackling midfielder, having started with them in the full-back position.