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FA Cup: Over 100,000 see 1st Round but some clubs feel pinch

Football News 24/7

The glory of the FA Cup doesn't have the same attraction it seems for fans supporting the League 1 and some League 2 clubs. With financial constraints making everyone think twice about that extra spend many season ticket holders chose to stay away yesterday.

The likes of Sheffield United (under 8,000), Preston (under 7,000), MK Dons and Notts Co (just over 4,000) and Oldham ( marginally over 3,000) had gates well below league averages. In League 2 Crewe attracted just over 2,000 for the visit of League 1 Colchester.

But it was a different story the lower down the pyramid you went. AFC Totton had a record gate of 2,700 as they thrashed Bradford PA  8-1. They have been rewarded with a home tie against Brstol Rovers in the next round.

Halifax saw a modern day record crowd of just under 5,000 for the visit of Charlton, and Fleetwood, who put out League side Wycombe had over 2,700 to cheer them on. The smallest crowd of just 465 souls watched Redford play Oxford City. Redford are the lowest ranked side left in the competition and normally play before less than a 100 specatators.

Whilst some supporters gave the competition the cold shoulder despite valiant efforts in ticket prices, those teams that progress will be delighted at the £18k prize money for getting through. Those that make it to the third round will get £27K. These sums are large amounts for clubs at the buckle end of the sport and the FA and Sponsors Budweiser are tio be applauded for the manner in which so much prize money trickles down into the lower reaches of the league structure.

Overall, with in excess of 100,000 fans turning out for the games in the first round, the Cup still has great appeal - it's a shame the fans at the bigger League Clubs are giving the early rounds the cold shoulder.

JB

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