The Emirates FA Cup is trumpeted as the worlds oldest (and greatest) knockout cup competition. It has tradition going back 148 years having first been played for in the 1871/72 season and won by Wanderers.
The competition see’s over 700 sides enter with the early round draws of the competition drawing thousands of interested eyes to the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase each summer as non league clubs plot their way to fame and fortune.
For some reason though, the Football Association’s attitude to promoting the early rounds of the competition (which affects hundreds of clubs across the country) is significantly wanting with (so far) just one tweet to highlight the start of this seasons competition.
A recent article in the latest When Saturday Comes magazine by lifelong Maidenhead United fan Steve Jinman highlighted the way the FA Cup brought the Magpies to his attention – and with many non league clubs it is their one shot a season at getting in to the wider public’s conciousness and converting floating supporters in to weekly attendees.
It should, in theory be incredibly easy for the FA to increase their promotion of the competition which every season offers a windfall for successful clubs and where a cup run has the potential to secure the future of individual clubs.
Whether that is just additional graphics for social media, a proper visible live draw or some sort of embargoed fixtures so we could all prepare for the release rather than scrabbling around at 1.05pm.
As it goes though, here’s everything we know about this years competition as imagined in conversation..
Who’s in this years competition?
We can have an educated guess, but no idea.
Okay, where can I watch the draw?
You can’t, it’s done in secret.
Right, why’s that?
No idea. As far as we are aware it never has been. Apparently no one really cares about the early rounds of the FA Cup.
Really? I do!
We were being sarcastic. The early round draws of the FA Cup, Trophy and Vase are easily one of the biggest days for traffic to the Football in Berkshire website.
So they should broadcast it then?
Yes definitely. No reason why not, or at least run some sort of live blog. They did publish a pre recorded video draw of one of the Preliminary Rounds last year. This was widely derided due to being a) late and b) of no use to clubs on social media who had to scour it for their own fixture.
How do you qualify?
You need to apply to the FA to enter, all Football League clubs are in as are most of steps 2 to 5 of the English Football Pyramid. As for step 6, there appears to be some sort of points per game requirement but again, we don’t really know.
So wait, we don’t know who’s in it, have any kind of transparency of the draw or anything shareable for clubs on social media?
Right. Any idea when the draws are?
Ah yes finally something we do know! It’s this Friday, apparently at 1pm. All the draws will be on Football in Berkshire here.
Oh we know the round dates as well. They are here.