You can keep your Bournemouth v Newcastle Saturday lunchtime kick-off. The FA Cup is back and we’re getting excited about the world’s greatest knock-out competition!
This weekend’s First Round Proper fixtures have thrown up a number of intriguing sub-plots and talking points.
But beyond the clutch of exotic names such as Whitehawk, Gainsborough Trinity and Stalybridge Celtic, who will be the real heroes to emerge and what should we look out for?
Here are a few storylines to follow…
The return of the Wealdstone Raider
Yep, expect to see the internet phenomenon of Christmas 2014 back in the public eye.
Conference South Wealdstone entertain League One Colchester on Saturday and the BBC’s Dan Walker and the Football Focus team will be live at Grosvenor Vale to show all the build-up.
The wee man himself is pretty excited.
— Gordon Hill (@OnlyOneRaider) November 2, 2015
Ticket prices, tradition and FC United
In times gone by all football was played at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, fans knocked off work early and walked through streets of terraced housing to get to the ground and blades of grass didn’t survive much into November.
As we all know, rightly or wrongly, that’s all changed and the FA Cup is now no stranger to abandoning tradition with the 1st Round now played over four days to satisfy TV demand. And that means certain clubs and sets of supports have got the hump.
For starters, FC United of Manchester voiced their displeasure at being ‘forced’ to move their tie against Chesterfield to a Monday night to suit the FA and television bosses.
Meanwhile, @therealfacup have also been irked but this time it was ticket prices that attracted their attention.
Didcot Town, who host Exeter City, are one of the clubs accused of profiteering.
How many non league sides have hiked their ticket prices for #FACup 1st Rnd? Definitely 2.
— The Real FA Cup (@therealfacup) November 1, 2015
An infinite number of Class of 92 mentions and references
Do you know everything that is humanly possible to know or care about Manchester United’s ubiquitous Class of 92?
Are you aware that Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers own FA Cup hopefuls Salford City?
And that they’re playing Notts County this Friday night, live on the Beeb? If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above you’ve probably been living under a rock or you’ve stumbled upon this article purely by mistake.
You can’t pen an FA Cup article without a fleeting reference to shocks. Everywhere you look there are potential banana skins
And that’s just the way we like it. Southern Premier League side Chesham United travel to Bristol Rovers, National League North outfit AFC Fylde head to Millwall while former Football League side Maidstone United host struggling Yeovil Town of League Two.
A spring-chicken at 43-years-old, Chesham striker Barry Hayles (yes, THAT Barry Hayles!) will be returning to face the club he left in 1998.
— Hanham Gashead (@HanhamGas) November 5, 2015
Somehow, somewhere, there will be upsets and new Giantkillers will be crowned.
Bring it on.
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