THE FA CUP STILL HAS ITS MOJO!
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.
CUP KING: Hyde United’s Luke Porritt gets away from Ishmael Dawson of Brighouse Town