Photographer's amazing 15 match, 2,750-mile journey to Wembley for FA Cup final, from non-league to Chelsea vs Liverpool

NINE months ago, photographer Duncan Elliott set off on a 15-match, 2,750-mile FA Cup journey.

The final destination? May's Wembley final.

Ground Hopper Elliott started his journey at Brookburn Road where West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC and neighbouring Avro contested an extra preliminary FA Cup round tie.

The official attendance for the match was a modest 355.

Avro won the tie 3-1 to progress to the next prelim but their cup run ended in the next game at the hands of Runcorn Linnets.

Elliott said: "For years I’d heard about Ground Hoppers trying to get to all of the League’s 92 grounds or doing something like My Road To Wembley and thought I’d like to try it one year. 


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"Last season I followed the winning team through the cups and followed the results for something to do during all the lockdowns. 

"This season I thought I’d give getting to all the games a go as a fan but it was too good an opportunity not to try and make it into a photography project."

Elliott then followed Runcorn Linnets up until their 3-2 third round defeat to Gateshead.

Camera in tow, Elliott saw Gateshead defeat Marske United and then Altrincham, with both ties going to a replay.

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Gateshead were then handed a big draw against League One side Charlton, where their FA Cup journey ended with a 2-0 defeat.

Charlton were then knocked out by Premier League Norwich and so Elliott watched the Canaries for two more rounds.

Norwich managed to defeat Wolves, but then lost to eventual finalists Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's quadruple-chasing Reds defeating Championship high-flyers Nottingham forest in the quarters and then main rivals Manchester City in a 3-2 thriller in the semis at Wembley.

And on May 14, Elliott will complete his FA Cup journey as Liverpool take on European champions Chelsea. The people Elliott met and the stories they had to tell is simply unforgettable.

On the power of football, Elliott said: "There’s so much passion there.

"People can really lose themselves in football, especially when they’re in a group surrounded by other like minded people. It’s tribal, that belonging, the unity of it, it’s really powerful. 

"It’s a global language. You could be anywhere in the world, mention a club or a player to someone and you can usually strike up some form of conversation. 

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"It can be played in the streets with something cobbled together for a ball to the World Cup Final in a stadium that costs millions, with billions of people watching on TV. 

"There are so many stories to tell, finding those stories and photographing them is a fantastic challenge."

*Follow The FA Cup Run on Instagram*

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