SPENCER FC founded Hashtag United in March 2016 as a YouTube football team with a group of his friends as well as some other YouTubers.
However, after participating in YouTube events like the Wembley Cup in 2017, Spencer wanted to make the step up to the non-league pyramid. Despite this, there was still time for one more YouTube game which was a tournament between many YouTube teams which included: Hashtag United, F2 FC, Rebel United and XO FC.
There was a lot of controversy before the final at Wembley Stadium. F2 FC was victorious, despite Hashtag winning the group stages.
In June 2018, many people were surprised to see Hashtag United in the provisional division line-ups and were listed by the FA for the 2018/19 season. They were placed in Eastern Counties League Division One South; the sixth step of non-league football. However, they and fans of the football pyramid didn’t expect them to be so high up. Unsurprisingly, though, there are many fans of non-league football who are not happy with Hashtag United entering the semi-pro game.
Having already anticipated being in the football league in the next season, the club contacted well known non-league manager Jay Devereux.
Jay said: “It took weeks of discussions with Spencer to become manager, his dad asked if he could pass my number on to Spencer.” He went on to say that his son was a big fan of Spencer and kept Jay up to date with what was going on at the club.
“I wasn’t interested at first but I took some training sessions once a week, but I got interested in the project. This led to Jay taking the job before the start of the 2018/2019 season.
The club did very well that season and gained promotion to the Essex Senior Football League (ESL). On promotion, Jay said: “Winning the league in the first season that secured promotion was the best moment”.
However, during their battle for promotion the coronavirus pandemic hit and the non-league seasons were cancelled. This meant Hashtag had to stay put in the Essex Senior League for another season and try again for promotion this season.
Jay said “Managing in the ESL is very similar to anywhere elsewhere, there is something more on it, there’s high expectations.”
The club, known as the tags managed to get into the second qualifying round, which is unusual for a team of their standard and age. The Tags managed to beat Park View, Felixstowe & Walton, and Soham Town Rangers before sadly losing to Braintree last week on penalties, after drawing the game.
Referring to the game, Jay said: “I feel we deserved to win. But we won two games on penalties so we could have easily gone out, there’s such a fine line between winning and losing.”
Photo: Hashtag United playing Sawbridgeworth Football Club.