The Non-League Football Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND PREVIEW -

WHO said the FA Cup isn’t im­por­tant any­more? Try telling that to Non-League clubs! As a player, it’s a welcome break from the pres­sures of the league. Every­one en­joys the not know­ing when the draw is made, the prize money, the TV time, but most im­por­tantly it puts the play­ers, the man­ager, the sup­port­ers and, of course, the club back on the map.

The big­gest shock of the fourth qual­i­fy­ing round had to be Hereford’s 2-1 vic­tory over Na­tional League out­fit Eastleigh which en­sured they made it to the first round proper for the first time since the club was re­formed.

The Bulls will now take on West Midlands ri­vals AFC Telford United in a tie they will fancy to progress to the sec­ond round.

Also a big shout out to Hyde United who made it to the first round for the first time in 23 years. They beat Scar­bor­ough 2-0 away in the bat­tle of the Step 4 teams to earn a great tele­vised tie at home to MK Dons. Man­ager Dar­ren Kelly and his as­sis­tant David McGurk have done a great job in sta­bil­is­ing the Manch­ester out­fit.

The duo have taken charge of five games plus a re­play to get to this point and reaching the first round is a credit to the play­ers and them both.


As a re­sult, the Tigers have al­ready pock­eted £30,000 in prize money, £65,000 TV money for next week’s live first round tie, plus po­ten­tial spon­sor­ship deals – not­with­stand­ing the sell-out crowd they will get for the cup clash on Novem­ber 3. The chair­man will def­i­nitely be rub­bing his hands to­gether.

Bostik North Hey­bridge Swifts also join Hyde as the low­est-ranked teams left in the com­pe­ti­tion – can they make more club his­tory?

Standing in their way, how­ever, is a tough match at League Two high-fliers Ex­eter City.

South Shields twice recorded crowds of over 3,000 against lo­cals York City and Hartle­pool, even­tu­ally los­ing to the later 2-1 to fall at the fi­nal hur­dle.

It just goes to show how im­por­tant the FA Cup is at this level and be­low. It can prove the dif­fer­ence when it comes to buy­ing a player and can keep a club afloat for an ex­tra 12 months.

Lin­coln City grossed over £1 mil­lion in the com­pe­ti­tion last year and that’s the car­rot that ev­ery Non-League club strives for in this pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion.

PIC­TURE: Greig Ber­tram

CUP KING: Hyde United’s Luke Por­ritt gets away from Ish­mael Daw­son of Brig­house Town

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