Round 1 of the 135th edition of Football’s greatest competition, if not the sporting world kicks off this weekend, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the first round of the competition. In fact, the competition started off on the 15th August with an extra preliminary qualifying round the first game of which was a 2-1 win for Jarrow Roofing BCA over Penrith in front of 110 fans.
There have been six rounds in all so far to get to this point where the 48 teams from Leagues One and Two join the fun in the First Round proper of the FA Cup, and the ever anticipated upsets await.
For the teams outside the Football League the FA Cup can be a great cash cow, with a good cup run helping to significantly balance the books for a season. The teams that have made it this far all received 12.5K GBP, and the payday for an upset in Round 1 is another 18K. The big payday on and off the field awaits in Round 3 when the EPL and Championship join the fun, a Round 2 win gets the team another 27K. Barely a week’s wages, even for the second tier Championship, but lifeblood for the Non Leaguers.
Amazingly the FA Cup’s first round includes two winners from the past 10 seasons in Wigan and Portsmouth, whose troubles have seen them drop down to the third and fourth division respectively. There’s even 1987 winners Coventry City playing this weekend, and they were knocked out at this stage by Worcester City last year. No team is immune from first round FA Cup embarrassment, and the non league teams are just waiting for the chance to deliver.
So there are 32 Non League teams and 48 League One and Two teams ready to clash, and here’s the best of what’s to come and the full list of fixtures.
BBC FA CUP SUNDAY
The BBC have cherry picked most of the David Goliath games so those lucky to be in the UK or pretend they are with a sneaky computer change will have it all. Here’s the list of the drama available including the Cup’s lowest ranked team kicking off proceedings.
Didcot Town V Exeter
Aldershot V Bradford
Brackley Town V Newport
Braintree V Oxford Utd
Bristol Rovers V Chesham United
Gainsborough Trinity V Shrewsbury
Halifax Town V Wycombe
Maidstone United V Yeovil
Whitehawk V Lincoln City
Port Vale V Maidenhead United
Worcester City beat 1987 Cup winners Coventry City in the first round of the 2014-15 competition and they are drawn against arguably the strongest team at this stage of the Cup in Sheffield United. The Blades usually cause nuisance for teams further up in the latter rounds, will the tables be turned on them in the first?
Coventry v Northampton – Coventry played at Northampton for a few seasons recently so this trip will be a mini homecoming.
Plymouth v Carlisle – just 390 miles (around 625 km) separates these two rivals. One for the dedicated fans.
FC Utd of Manchester v Chesterfield – the rebel club started from disenchanted Manchester Utd fans get the premium TV Monday night slot despite the club’s protests and request for the traditional Saturday afternoon slot.
FULL ROUND 1 FIXTURES
Accrington Stanley v York City
AFC Wimbledon v Forest Green Rovers
Aldershot Town v Bradford City
Altrincham v Barnsley
Barnet v Blackpool
Barwell v Welling United
Brackley Town v Newport County
Braintree Town v Oxford United
Bristol Rovers v Chesham United
Burton Albion v Peterborough United
Bury v Wigan Athletic
Cambridge United v Basingstoke Town
Coventry City v Northampton Town
Crawley Town v Luton Town
Crewe Alexandra v Eastleigh
Dagenham & Redbridge v Morecambe
Didcot Town v Exeter City
Doncaster Rovers v Stalybridge Celtic
Dover Athletic v Stourbridge
FC Halifax Town v Wycombe Wanderers
FC United of Manchester v Chesterfield
Gainsborough Trinity v Shrewsbury Town
Grimsby Town v St Albans City
Hartlepool United v Cheltenham Town
Leyton Orient v Staines Town
Maidstone United v Yeovil Town
Mansfield Town v Oldham Athletic
Millwall v AFC Fylde
Northwich Victoria v Boreham Wood
Plymouth Argyle v Carlisle United
Port Vale v Maidenhead United
Portsmouth v Macclesfield Town
Rochdale v Swindon Town
Salford City v Notts County
Scunthorpe United v Southend United
Sheffield United v Worcester City
Stevenage v Gillingham
Walsall v Fleetwood Town
Wealdstone v Colchester United
Whitehawk v Lincoln City
There are some great stories about some of the non league teams, and we’ve got just a couple of the most interesting below.
FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER
Home Ground: Broadhurst Park
Current League: National League North (Tier 6) – 17th of 22
Formed by disenchanted Manchester United fans, angry at the Glazer family’s running of the entity that is United, they formed their own team which has reached the sixth level. That is after missing out in the playoffs for four straight years. Their manager Karl Marginson is the only manager the team has ever had, continuing the tradition of minimal manager change by the Red side of Manchester. They finally play at their own home ground this season after sharing for their existence so far.
SALFORD CITY FC
Home Ground: Moor Lane
Current League: Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division (Tier 7) – 4th of 24
Local rivals of the above FC United side, and one with a connection to Manchester United also. Five of the Class of 92 including Ryan Giggs have 10% shares in the side from Salford after being involved in a takeover in 2014.
Home Ground: Draycott Engineering Loop Meadow Stadium
Current League: Evo-Stik League Southern League Division 1 South West (Tier 8) – 16th of 22
The lowest ranked team in the competition and have been handed the tie with League Two outfit Exeter. A very rare occurrence for a tier 8 team to go past the first round. Didcot was the former town base of F1 team Williams in their hey day.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a wrap up of any English Football weekend without a serving of our tips for the weekend.
$1 for $14
LEYTON ORIENT to beat Staines
MILLWALL to beat AFC Fylde
DOVER to beat Stourbridge
PORTSMOUTH to beat Macclesfield
PLYMOUTH to beat
SHEFFIELD UTD to beat
BRISTOL ROVERS to beat Chesham
WALSALL to beat Fleetwood
$1 for $78
WIGAN to Bury
SWINDON to beat Rochdale
GILLINGHAM to beat Stevenage
WYCOMBE to beat Halifax
LUTON to beat Crawley
$1 for $195
MAIDSTONE to beat Yeovil
WEALDSTONE to beat Colchester
EASTLEIGH to beat Crewe
ALTRINCHAM to beat Barnsley
CHICKENED OUT UPSETS
$1 for $145
MAIDSTONE or Draw v Yeovil
WEALDSTONE or Draw v Colchester
EASTLEIGH or Draw v Crewe
ALTRINCHAM or Draw v Barnsley
BRACKLEY or Draw v Newport
ALDERSHOT or Draw v Bradford
BASINGSTOKE or Draw v Cambridge