The Magic of the Cup-Round 1 (Backpackers FC)


1.1 often derogatory A person who obsessively studies the minutiae of any minority interest or specialized hobby: the idea is to make the music really really collectable so the trainspotters will buy it in their pathetic thousands

‘Trainspotters’ exist in many forms, especially in the UK. Normally sporting an anorak and an inability at showing many social skills at all they follow trains and their travel patterns. It’s not just limited to trains too. They can follow flight arrivals on viewing decks at airports and other such activities taking photos of the arriving planes and keeping notes. Some would call it an obsession I guess but what’s the difference between that and wasting time wondering who to vote off on crap like Dancing with the Stars or commenting in a comments section on Facebook.

One obsession of the trainspotter that always piqued my interest though were those who lived and breathed football’s FA Cup, the great knockout competition that involved every side in England and Wales.

Their plan every year was to follow an obscure team from the very first qualifying round of the FA Cup some 8 months out from the final in May and follow said team through every round wherever they were playing until knocked out of the Cup; then you follow that team that knocked them out home and away and then you follow the team that knocked them out and so and so forth until the two finalists walked out at Wembley. Get what I mean?

It was an ambitious plan undertaken by many every year and was a chance to see teams they would never support, parts of England and Wales they would rarely visit and visit stadiums they you wouldn’t wish upon your own worst enemy at times rather than be somewhere nice and 5 star in a modern Premier League stadium.

After missing out on doing this challenge whilst based in the UK and with the new FFA Cup competition now in Australia in its third season why not do it in Perth and beyond? I’m going to at least try. The FFA Cup is modelled very much on the FA Cup as a straight knockout cup competition involving all sides. Every state host their own knockout rounds until we get to the time when teams from each state league join the A-League clubs and it goes national. It’s a chance to connect all the leagues along with ‘New Football’ and ‘Old Soccer’ and see different clubs and cultures.


ROUND ONE-Sunday February 28

BACKPACKERS FC (Sunday Amateur Division 3) v Western United FC (Sunday Amateur Division 5)

I decided I would follow the team geographically closest to my suburb of Bassendean in the very first round and that would be Backpackers FC in nearby Morley. Starting off as a kick around on a Sunday morning a few years ago, this side was put together as a social team for travellers on temporary visas to meet other backpackers/students and have a social network while living in or visiting Perth. The side has been slowly making their way up the amateur Sunday leagues featuring people from all over the world and an attitude of being all inclusive and trying to bullshit on social media they had signed former stars such as Robbie Fowler.


They would be hosting Western United FC (the Dragons) who were the epitome of a bottom division Sunday league side. The team played in a small park near NIB Stadium in Highgate (the home of two time FFA Cup finalists Perth Glory) and were most definitely a team that used jumpers for goalposts at training and were originally made up of members of the local Chinese Community. Now though they featured players from different backgrounds much like their opponents. There would most definitely be an international flavour to this first game to get the competition underway.

With a gap of two divisions between the sides this was expected to literally be a walk in the park for Backpackers FC because they did literally play in a local park in Morley called Elstead Reserve. While there were changing facilities for the players that was about it with a dog walker getting a small plastic bag out to collect their dog’s mess a much bigger chance than someone illegally ripping a flare or Fox Sports having an OB van in attendance. While it was an official FFA game and the first official round of the cup in WA there were no banners, no advertising and a smattering of wives and girlfriends in the shade making up the crowd.

As far as the game went there was a sense of purpose for Backpackers FC. They did the pre game photo to mark their first attempt at the cup and were looking forward to their first serious game of the year. Western United seemed to be a little thrown together and not looking like they had spent the summer running up and down sand dunes and instead had spent it in the Brisbane Hotel across the road from their home ground in Highgate.

With support from the WAGs in between their chatter about whatever the Backpackers FC creamed the opposition moving in to the next round 8-0 and knocking the bottom team of the bottom division in Perth out of the competition. A game of little tension. Without a match day programme it was also a little hard to see the coach or chairman’s notes or who was who but that was to be expected in these initial beginnings of this year’s cup.

In the draw for Round 2 of the FFA Cup Backpackers FC will be away to Fremantle Croatia from the Sunday Premier Division who are 3 divisions above them and are no layabouts. Whilst it will be a big challenge and a journey down the Kwinana Freeway let’s see what Backpackers FC can do on March 13 and whether I’ll be following them or their opponents in to Round 3.



CROWD-40? (including the players, WAGS, kids and officials)

ATMOPSHERE-1/5. More at a Sheffield Shield game that’s a dead rubber and heading for a draw late on day 4 than at this match.

FACILITIES-N/A (a local park is a bit hard to rate)

EATS/DRINKS FACILITIES-N/A (there were none unless you count an esky)

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Dilettante. Traffic Nerd. Behind the Almanac World Cup 100. Keen Cat, Cardie, Socceroo/Matilda, Glory Bhoy.


  1. Nice easy game for Backpackers FC in the first round, but a tough follow up for them in the 2nd round. That game could get interesting though, if Fremantle Croatia don’t take it seriously.

  2. Love the idea of following a team (and their eventual conquerors) right through a comp. Has some of the fatalism of The Dice Man. Easier to do in England where you can drive to games (pity about the weather).
    Will give you a ring about getting along to the Fremantle Croatia game on March 13. The Avenging Eagle will insist on wearing her Hajduk Split shirt.

  3. Dennis Gedling says

    It will be a huge challenge for Backpackers in the next round with 3 divisions in between them and their next opponents but they have been going up every year they have been in the league so far.

    The other Croatia in Sunday Premier Division (Gwelup) almost made the final 32 last season, if they did make it then they could have played an A-League side so hope springs eternal for the AE!

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