FA Cup history made
Founded just 11 years ago by a group of immigrant workers looking to play football in their spare time, FC Romania go looking to crown their rapid rise by securing their best-ever Emirates FA Cup run this weekend.
The Wolves, from Cheshunt on the outskirts of London, are a diaspora club primarily made up of players of Romanian heritage and on Sunday, they host Southern League Hayes & Yeading United in second round qualifying.
FC Romania were first accepted into the Essex Senior League in 2013 and are proud of their heritage, wearing the same colours as the Romanian national team – blue, yellow and red.
Ion Vintila founded the club and also acts as chairman and manager, and he believes that reaching third round qualifying for the first time would be arguably the greatest achievement in the Wolves’ history.
“We represent our community in English football,” Vintila told the FA's website
“I’d like to say thank you to the FA because they gave us permission to have that name.
“We’d like to show to everyone that the Romanian country are good people.
“Sometimes in the newspaper, people talk bad about our country and blah, blah, blah and for that, I’d like to thank the FA for letting us have our name.
“We live everywhere in London. Some players come from Heathrow, some come from the south of London, so it’s not just Cheshunt.
“We started playing Sunday League football and then, month by month, year by year, we got bigger and passed the levels to be in the semi-professional league, and now we play in the FA Cup and everyone is happy – especially me.”
Most of FC Romania’s players work in construction and they will be out to scale new heights in the world's original cup competition, ideally in front of a bumper crowd at the Cheshunt Stadium.
Vintila added: “I saw [Hayes & Yeading] last week and I know about them. They played in the National League a few years ago.
“They have a good team but we trust in ourselves and you never know what will happen in football.
“We expect to have about 200 people to come and watch.
“It’s on Sunday and there aren’t many games in the FA Cup, so hopefully the ground-hoppers come down to see our team.”
The winners of the tie, who will progress to third round qualifying, will net £4,500 in prize money.
For the whole draw see: