September 2011. We won 3-1 in front of 291 people.
It’s only the beginning of September and we are into the second round
of the FA Cup (Yes, I know it’s still the preliminary round). Nearly
250 teams have already been eliminated and our opponents today beat
Reading Town in a replay with a grand total of 177 people watching
Five teams went to the wall before a ball was kicked.
Friar Lane Old Boys, Bicester Town, Dawlish Town, Saffron Walden Town
and Andover all pulled out for various financial reasons.
Making the biggest splash were Ascot United who lost to Wembley 2-1 in
the extra preliminary round. So what? Well the tie, Ascots first in
the 140 year history of the cup, was also the first football match
ever to be screened live on Facebook thanks to new cup sponsors
Budweiser. Six quid entrance (and free for under 16s) got you a quid
off a pint of Bud, a free burger and a raffle draw where you got the
chance to take penalties against Dave Beasant (the only goalie to have
saved a penalty in an FA Cup Final) with the prize of FA Cup final
tickets. You could also get yourself a picture next to the cup. So
instead of the previous week’s league match gate of 88 Ascot smashed
their record attendance with a massive crowd of 1149! Meanwhile 20,000
people watched the match on Facebook. As for Wembley, they pocketed
£750 from The FA prize fund and played Ardley United yesterday.
I would prefer it if we get drawn away in the first few grounds to
smaller clubs than ourselves, to places I’d never usually visit. I
reckon there should be an advantage rule in the first few rounds where
lower ranking clubs get home advantage to see if they can pull off a
shock. I’m sure we can all remember the fun we had at Erith Towns
athletic stadium last season where Slough got dumped out by a club a
league lower than us.
The FA Cup Preliminary round is also the second Non League Day. Non-
League Day is such a brilliant, simple idea that after the success of
last year’s event it’s being repeated again. September 3rd was picked
because thanks to England playing Friday night the Premier League and
Championship are taking a week off. The idea is to tempt those fans
with an otherwise football free weekend into a bit of non league
action. A chance to shine a light on the hundreds of clubs in this
country who are almost exclusively volunteer run, and do so much good
for the local community, be it through coaching, fund raising or
providing opportunities for local people. A chance to experience
football at a level they may be otherwise unfamiliar with at a
fraction of the price.
This year the Macmillan Cancer Support came on board as Non League
Days official charity, ex-England international Chris Waddle is the
official ambassador, and the day secured the backing of the All Party
Football Group in Parliament. The Conference also organised a special
three-game hop while other clubs run special deals to get the punters
And who knows what else might happen? It was the authors of the
excellent website therealfacup who announce on their website
"disillusioned with football at the top level, we visited our local
team, Dulwich Hamlet, to watch them play Broxbourne Borough in the
Preliminary Round of the FA Cup and were hooked" Now they have
rekindled their love of football by reporting about the early rounds
of the FA Cup and Vase.
We often hear that the FA Cup doesn’t matter to those clubs at the
top, but to clubs like Ascot United, Wembley and Slough Town, the FA
Cup still means a lot.
• Reviews of FA Cup, FA Vase and more http://therealfacup.co.uk/
• Non League Day http://www.nonleagueday.co.uk/