Steven King has been urged to make Whitehawk history – and avoid fans wielding corner flags – in the club’s biggest FA Cup tie for years.

Hawks will aim to reach the first round proper for the first time when they host Southern League leaders Poole Town today.

King has made sure his players are in no doubt as to what a win would mean to the club.

And among their well-wishers will be Sammy Donnelly, the last manager to take them to the fourth qualifying round in 1988-89.

Back then Hawks drew away to Bognor before going down in the replay at home with a first round tie against Football League outfit Exeter City awaiting the winner.

King is keen to avoid a replay this time but is fully aware how tough things could be against a well-organised Poole side who won comfortably at Hastings in the last round.

He told The Argus: “It’s hard to make history and we have got a good opportunity.

“The players know what it means. Everybody here has played in later rounds of the FA Cup than this but they are doing it for the club.


“They want to be the ones who take Whitehawk into the first round proper.

“We know it will be a tough game. I watched Poole play on Tuesday (at Dorchester) and they won 5-1.

“They are a decent side. They have got a gameplan and a system.

“Their full-backs are out of National League south, they have got two giant centre-halves and they are a solid side.”

Although Poole did not dazzle at Hastings, King was impressed by the way they denied their hosts any clear attempts on goal.

But he has a full squad from which to choose and Hawks will start as favourites.

Back in 1988, they were the underdogs from the County League who ruffled a few feathers before bowing out to Jack Pearce’s renowned cup-fighting Bognor side.

Donnelly said: “We were losing 1-0 over there and I sent Gerry Fell on as sub just to take a free-kick and equalise, which he did.

“I remember it well. At the end I was hit around the head by someone with a corner flag. It must have been a Bognor supporter.

“He said ‘It’s your fault for bringing the sub on’.

“We lost the replay but cup runs like that, and the one I had at Worthing, are things you cherish for the rest of your life.

“I had seven-and-a-half years at Whitehawk and I hope they do it. I hope they get through.”

Today’s tie will not attract a crowd close to the 2,100 who watched that replay 27 years ago and set a club record which still stands.

But King admits this is a great chance to raise the club’s profile, especially if they go through.

He said: “At the last home game the noise they made was incredible.

“I’ve done 700 games and I’ve never heard fans like that.

“There used to be a handful who turned up. Now there’s a big group with trumpets, drums, the lot, and they don’t shut up all game.

“We are trying to bring in a big crowd to be part of history.”