The 2016/17 Emirates FA Cup will kick-off a full NINE days earlier in the coming season with the Extra Preliminary Round scheduled to take place on Saturday 6th August.
The move by the FA means that the first round of Uhlsport Hellenic League matches between Monday 1st and Wednesday 3rd August will be the only competitive fixtures for sides in the FA Cup before the worlds oldest cup competition kicks-off.
Read more: Date for early round draws in FA Cup, Trophy and Vase announced
Last seasons extra preliminary round was Saturday 15th August.
The full Hellenic League programme will kick-off on Saturday 13th August.
Last season, entrants locally were Ascot United, Binfield, Bracknell Town, Highmoor-IBIS, Holyport, Thatcham Town and Windsor.
Dates for your diary: How the 2016/17 season is panning out
Dates for the 2016/17 Emirates FA Cup:
Extra Preliminary Round – Saturday 6th August
Preliminary Round – Saturday 20th August
1st Qualifying Round – Saturday 3rd September
2nd Qualifying Round – Saturday 17th September
3rd Qualifying Round – Saturday 1st October
4th Qualfying Round – Saturday 15th October
1st Round Proper – Saturday 5th November
How did Berkshire sides do in 2015/16?
The 2015/16 Emirates FA Cup wasn’t a vintage year for local sides with Southern League Shortwood United accounting for Binfield and Bracknell Town’s exits while no side got past the First Qualifying Round.
Watch Shane Cooper-Clark score a free-kick for Bracknell in the Preliminary Round replay win over Brimscombe & Thrupp:
The Yellamen were beaten 2-1 in the Extra Preliminary Round by eventual Hellenic Premier champions Kidlington.
Southern League side Shortwood United beat the Moles in the Preliminary Round 2-1.
United’s next victims were Bracknell Town who lost 4-3 despite a heroic fightback in Gloucestershire.
Another opening round exit, IBIS lost 2-1 to neighbours Thatcham Town.
Division 1 East Holyport went down 3-1 to Premier Division Milton United.
The only other side to make the First Qualifying Round. Hellenic Premier runners up Thatcham were beaten 1-0 by Hastings United.
A 1-0 defeat by AFC Dunstable ended the Royalists 2015/16 adventure in the Extra Preliminary Round.
Here’s hoping clubs can go one better this year with the not inconsiderable financial rewards on offer. Last season’s Extra Preliminary Round winners received £1,500 while First Qualifying Round winners would have received £3,000.
Eventual competition winners Manchester United received a seven figure sum with £1,800,000 going to the Old Trafford coffers just for winning the final.