Cup Draw back on Monday lunchtime

Last updated : 06 January 2003 By Tony Scholes
It had its heyday when the final was the only game shown live on television all season but there have been too many changes that have not helped.

One of those was the draw which was always on Monday lunchtime and heard live on BBC radio. There was no television and no gimmicks, just the required number of balls going into a blue velvet bag with FA officials making the draw.

We are finally back to Monday but the drama and the gathering round the radio will not return as it is still to be shown on television and will still be drawn in the modern way.

There are other ways the FA could help the competition and the first would be to push for the return of replays being played in the midweek after the first game and also to get rid of penalty shoot outs.

Not wishing to get into the debate on penalty shoot outs I do think it would be good to see FA Cup ties played until one team or the other won although I suspect the top clubs would be voting against any such return.

Sadly this weekend we have heard that once the new Wembley is open then all semi-finals will be played there. This is a must so the stadium can be afforded, but again it devalues the competition.

But back to the draw and it takes place today at 1:00 p.m. A total of 23 clubs are already guaranteed a place in the 4th round with 10 of those from the Premiership, 9 from Division One, 1 from Division Two, 2 from Division Three and one from the Conference.

The Clarets will be in the draw along with Grimsby Town and our number will be 26 and for those of you who would like to be drawn against our closest neighbours the ball to look out for is number 20.

And if you want a tough one then Arsenal are number 25, Chelsea are number 4 and Manchester United who defeated us in the Worthington Cup are number 31. Non Leaguers Farnborough are 13 whilst Dagenham & Redbridge (having drawn with Plymouth) are number 10.

We will know though just after 1 o’clock this afternoon.