From Worksop Parramore to Wembley

A spotlight on the 2013-14 F.A. Challenge Cup competition

By next week, the world’s greatest and oldest cup competition will be in full swing. Everybody says the absolute zenith of the competition at its finest is the final tie at Wembley. I beg to differ. What has made, and continues to make the F.A. Cup one of the most revered competitions in the world is its qualifying rounds, leading up to the First Round Proper. It always seems to lose some of its allure when the last non-league side has been eliminated. Continue reading “From Worksop Parramore to Wembley”

East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy Second Round Proper Draw

Groundhog Day for Stalybridge Celtic (or another new ground for County to visit)

You couldn’t make it up! One wonders if the F.A’s competitions are drawn at random at all, if recent draws are anything to go by. At the top, Manchester United are drawn to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the F.A Cup Third Round, months after City’s 6 – 1 drubbing at Old Trafford.

Lower down the footballing pyramid, there is one inevitability along with death, taxation and The X Factor winner’s attempts to stitch up the Christmas Number One spot of the singles chart.

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East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy First Round Results

Poor attendances amid scalps by lower league opposition

The F.A. Challenge Trophy is the Football Association’s premier non-league competition featuring clubs from Steps 1 to 4 of the non-league pyramid. With the Conference National side, one would expect some fairly good attendance figures at this stage. Alas this wasn’t the case.

Perhaps some sides (particularly those demoted from the Football League in the last decade) perceive the F.A. Trophy as a ‘Mickey Mouse Competition’, even though they have more chance of getting to Wembley than the F.A. Challenge Cup. That may be true to some extent, but I think the real culprit lies with hosting the First Round ties close to Christmas, when attendances from the F.A. Premier League down to the Manchester League are depressed by Christmas shopping. For those of you stood in the aisles of TESCO Extra, you missed a few crackers. (Before you ask, they are not close to the wines and spirits aisle, going off my rudimentary knowledge of the one in Altrincham which I used to frequent)

Continue reading “East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy First Round Results”

East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy First Round Proper Draw

Edgeley Park date for Stalybridge Celtic, whereas Droylsden and Hyde face ties against East Midlands opposition

Two teams, same initials, separated by a once weekly rail service, will meet for the first time in a first class competition since the 1921 – 22 season. The glamour tie of the F.A. Trophy First Round Proper was given to Stalybridge Celtic, who travel to Stockport County.

Continue reading “East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy First Round Proper Draw”