LONDON • Lincoln City have brought the magic back to the FA Cup, claimed manager Danny Cowley, after becoming the first non-league team to reach the quarter-finals in 103 years with a 1-0 victory at Premier League side Burnley on Saturday.
The National League leaders' remarkable story in the cup continued at Turf Moor, where Sean Raggett's 89th-minute header produced one of the greatest upsets in the competition's history.
Fifth-level Lincoln, relegated from the Football League six years ago, have beaten Championship sides Brighton and Ipswich before adding Burnley to their list of high-profile scalps.
They are now just one win from a semi-final appearance at Wembley, having become the first non-league team since Queens Park Rangers in 1914 to reach the last eight, earning over £1 million (S$1.76 million) from this season's tournament in the process.
Cowley reacted: "Maybe we have brought some of the magic back. This is a brilliant cup competition and anyone who says the FA Cup is dead hasn't lived in Lincoln for the past six to eight weeks.
"It is life-changing for us. It is a game-changer for the football club in terms of finance and the profile it has given our players. Our players deserve that.
"When you are a non-league footballer, and a lot of ours have been part-time, you have to really fight. It can be tough and for them to have this moment in the limelight is thoroughly deserved."
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who as a player featured in third-tier Chesterfield's surprise run to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997, was aware of the scale of Lincoln's achievement.
"We've unfortunately played a part in Lincoln's fairy tale and obviously we didn't want to do that," he said.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE