The FA Cup is still (in my opinion) the most exciting cup competition in English Football.
Over the years the tournament has produced many shock results, epic matches and wonderful goals that live long in the memory. Who can forget Giggsy’s mazy run and sublime finish against Arsenal in the Semi Final of ’99?
But for me, the most exciting thing about the FA Cup is the draw; the chance that lower league – even non - league clubs could have the chance to play against the crème de la crème of the Premier League. It’s what every player, and fan dreams of.
For many players, and supporters it offers probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a local side take on the very best in the country. And it’s these ‘David vs Goliath’ encounters are what make the FA Cup so enjoyable.
League clubs always want a decent run in the cup – it’s lucrative and can be a welcome distraction from how they’re performing in the league itself. But because they play league football, their place in the FA Cup is guaranteed at the start of each season; they’re included in the first round draw.
It’s a different story for non - league teams.
They have to play a series of qualifying matches just to progress to the ‘proper’ stages of the tournament.
Take Barrow AFC, they were drawn against Taunton in the first round proper (a game they drew 2-2) but they’d had to play a number of games in order to just qualify for that match.
Reaching the first round may not seem like a massive achievement, but for a non- league side like Barrow it’s massive. Not only does it help financially, it also gets them noticed, and who knows, if they get past Taunton in the replay, and beat the winner of Bristol Rovers or Crawley in Round Two, they could be drawn against one of the ‘big boys’ from either the Premiership or the Championship.
Barrow are on a good run of form at the moment (16 games unbeaten) and although they’ve drawn more games than they’d like, you’d fancy them to beat Taunton at Holker Street on Tuesday night. They have a full strength side to field, and Liam Hughes is eligible to play after having his red card in the first match (for dubious violent conduct) rescinded.
So make the trip to Holker Street on Tuesday night (15th November) and cheer the lads on. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, don’t worry – you can pay on the gate. A match against Taunton might not sound the most appealing of fixtures, but it could be the stepping stone to something much bigger.
Let’s keep the magic of the FA Cup alive in Barrow.
For more details of this, and upcoming fixtures please visit http://barrowafc.com/