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January 1, 2009

2008-’09 FA Cup Third Round Proper, 2nd through 5th January, 2009 (featuring Forest Green Rovers FC).

Filed under: 2008-09 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 2:53 pm

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FA site/ FA Cup {Click here}.

This season,  a record 8 Non-League clubs have made it to the FA Cup Third Round. One of them is Forest Green Rovers FC,  a Conference club from the West Country, in rural Gloucestershire. Rovers are faring poorly in the Blue Square Premier League this season, and are in the relegation zone at 22nd place. Nevertheless, they have qualified for the FA Cup Third Round for the first time in their history. Nicknamed ‘the Little Club on the Hill’, Forest Green Rovers were “famous” for their sloped pitch on their old ground, The Lawn.  {See this, ‘The Leaving of the Lawn’, from BBC Gloucestershire}. The club moved a little bit down the hill and into their new ground, The New Lawn, in August, 2006 (they are still situated high above the town of Nailsworth). Last season they had their best league placing ever, at 8th place in the 5th Level.

“Green’s Derby Aim” by Julian Bennetts, at the FA site {Click here}.

Here is the entry on Forest Green Rovers {Click here}, from the Blue Square Conference Football Ground Guide .

The manager of the club is Jim Harvey, who joined Forest Green in September, 2006, after a recent spell of 11 seasons as manager of Morecambe. Harvey had suffered a heart attack in November, 2005. While Harvey recuperated, Morecambe, under interim manager Sammy McIlroy, were subsequently promoted to The League at the end of that season (2005-06), and Harvey lost his job to McIlroy.  The two ex-friends don’t speak to each other any more. When Harvey took over at Forest Green, the club were at bottom of the league. Harvey led the club to safety that season (2006-07), avoiding relegation with a game to spare. Last season, led by Welsh international Stuart Fleetwood’s 28 goals, Forest Green had their best year ever. Fleetwood was sold to Charlton last summer. This season, FGR’s leading scorer is Andy Mangan, with 9 goals. The Liverpool-born striker (age 22) has played on League sides Accrington Stanley and Bury.

Saturday, Forest Green Rovers will play host to Derby County. Forest Green are 76 places below Derby in the League Pyramid. The Rovers’ website reports a sell-out {see this, at http://www.forestgreenroversfc.com/}. Forest Green may be able to benefit from an unsettled Derby side, as Paul Jewell resigned as Derby manager on Monday 29th December (Chris Hutchings is at the helm for the match v. Forest Green). The game will be televised live by Fox Soccer Channel, in North America. 

Below: Map of 2008-09 FA Cup Third Round Clubs from the Lower Leagues (20 Clubs: 9 Clubs from League One, 3 Clubs from League Two, 6 Clubs from the Conference, 1 Club from the Conference North, and 1 Club from the Unibond Premier League).   

On the map below, I have added a list of the clubs’ average attendance; included are all the fixtures involving these clubs…

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Below: Map of the 2008-2009 FA Cup Third Round Clubs from the Premier League and the League Championship (44 Clubs).

I didn’t have time to update attendances for the map below, but the whole FA Cup Third Round Fixtures List is there…

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Fixtures List {Click here (BBC site) }.

Thanks to Tony’s English Football Site {Click here}.

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