BROTHERLY love will be completely forgotten about when Hebburn play Consett in the Buildbase FA Vase final at Wembley this afternoon.

Thirty-one-year-old identical twins Amar and Arjun Purewal will line up against each other in today's all-Northern League final for the 2020 Vase – striker Amar for Hebburn and defender Arjun for Consett. They are the first pair of identical twins to play in a major final at Wembley, as well as being the first Asian players. They are also best friends, and work together in their business.

Amar, who was part of the Darlington team that enjoyed three promotions under Martin Gray, has already played for West Auckland in the 2019-20 competition, but has been given special dispensation by the FA to play for Hebburn, for whom he signed last summer. He played for them in the semi-final win over Corinthians last September, when he partnered another former Darlington player, Graeme Armstrong, up front.

“I played for West against Plymouth Parkway earlier in the competition, but then lockdown came along, games didn’t get played, and when I signed for Hebburn, I was told by the FA that I could register to play in the Vase,” he said. “It’s going to be a big day for everyone involved. It’s every lad’s dream to play at Wembley, and I’ll be trying to enjoy it as much as possible, because it will go so quickly.

“It’s strange being up against my brother on such a big day. We’ve spoken about the game a bit and about playing at Wembley, but he’s keeping his cards close to his chest about how Consett are preparing for the game, and I’m doing the same about Hebburn. We work together in our business, so the conversation has been almost business only all week, which is unusual for us. We’re usually asking about how we played in our last game, and how the team played, but there’s been none of that.

“The way I see it, the fact I’m up against my brother is a complete coincidence, but as far as I’m concerned, he’ll just be another player whom I’m up against. If I start thinking about sentiment, then I might come off my game -- I don’t want that to happen on such a big day.

“It will be a real shame that there will be no fans in the ground, it would have been great to have some in cheering us on.”

Arjun will be the proud skipper of Consett when he leads the team out into an empty stadium.

“It’s an unbelievable day for the club, the biggest in its long history,” he said. “It’s been bizarre preparing for the game, because we haven’t played any league games for a while. We came back into training at the end of March, and it’s been much like a pre-season. Every game we’ve played so far, we’ve tried to make as competitive as possible. We’ve had some difficult tests against Sunderland Academy and England Universities.

“It’s been strange waiting for the game to be played. When we won our semi-final in September, we thought the final would be played another fortnight after that, but that didn’t happen because of the pandemic, and then we stopped playing league games in October.

“It’s great for our family that we’re playing at Wembley, and having my brother also on the pitch will be special, but as soon as the first whistle sounds, it’s just another game for me. Most of all, it will be great to have the experience of playing at Wembley, regardless of whether there’s a crowd in the stadium or not.

“It’s also great for the Asian community. Amar and I represent a lot of people in this game, and it’s a way of showing Asians that they can make progress in football, and if they do work hard enough, then they can take part in big occasions like this. A lot of Asian people have been in touch with me to talk about the game, and it’s good to know that we’re raising awareness."

It’s not the first time Amar and Arjun have faced each other. Amar was with Darlington and Arjun with Blyth when the clubs played each other in the FA Cup in 2014, and they’ve played against each other for West Auckland and Consett respectively in the Northern League.

Today's game kicks-off at 1pm, and is being covered by BT Sport, and will be followed by the Trophy final between Harrogate Town and Concord Rangers.