Kevin Lisbie is going to Wembley

Barring injury, former Charlton striker Kevin Lisbie (now aged 40) should be appearing at Wembley on May 19th in the final of The FA Vase.

The FA Vase was introduced in 1974 to replace the FA Amateur Cup when the distinction between professional and amateur players became blurred and outdated.

The competition is for clubs playing below step eight of the English National League System. The National League is step five; National Leagues South and North are step six; Step seven includes The Northern Premier League and Isthmian Premier - clubs like Folkestone, Margate and Enfield. Step eight includes the Northern Premier League Division 1 and The Isthmian Division 1 - the home of Greenwich Borough and Cray Wanderers. This brings us at last to step nine which includes among others The Southern Counties East League (Premier Division) which is the berth of Lisbie's current team - Cray Valley Paper Mills.

Cary Valley PM (who share The Badgers Sports Ground in Eltham, with Greenwich Borough) are sitting in third place in the SE Counties East League (Premier Division) behind Corinthian (not to be confused with Corinthian Casuals) and Fisher. The division also includes Beckenham Town, Erith Town and Punjab United.

Having beaten Sutton Athletic 2-1 back in September Cray Valley PM  battled through a further seven rounds to reach a two-leg semi final with Canterbury City last month. They beat them 1-0 at Badgers in front of a record crowd of 663 and held on for a 1-1 draw in the away tie.

Their opponents on May 19th will be Chertsey Town of The Combined Counties League (Premier) - also a step nine league. Chertsey overcame Northwich Victoria on penalties in their semi final. This was not such a surprise as it might seem. The Vics (who only ten years ago knocked Charlton out of the FA Cup) now perform in the North West Counties Football League (Premier) having gone into administration and become a supporter owned club.

It is nearly sixteen years since Kevin Lisbie scored that hat trick at The Valley against Liverpool. If you would like to support him representing Kent against Surrey on May 19th ticket information can be found here. The final kicks off at 12.15pm and will be followed by the FA Trophy final between Leyton Orient and AFC Fylde.