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November 3, 2014

2014-15 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances./ Plus, an illustrated article on the four FA Cup First Round debut clubs: Gosport Borough, Concord Rangers, Warrington Town and Norton United.

Filed under: 2014-15 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 9:34 pm

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2014-15 FA Cup, 1st Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances





2014-15 FA Cup 1st Round fixtures, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.

This is the 134th competition of the FA Cup – the oldest sports tournament in the world. Holders are Arsenal (of north London), who beat Hull City AFC (of the East Riding of Yorkshire) in a thrilling final at Wembley Stadium on 17 May 2013, by a score of 3-2 in aet, with the winning goal scored by Aaron Ramsey in the 109th minute. That changed the top-of-the-list of most FA Cup titles, putting Arsenal even with Manchester United, at 11 FA Cup titles each {see this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FA_Cup_finals#Results_by_team}.

From the Real FA Cup site, from 30 October 2014, by Phil Annets, From Smallthorne to Big Time (therealfacup.co.uk).

    Clubs which are making their FA Cup First Round debuts in 2014-15 (four clubs)…

There are four clubs making their FA Cup First Round debuts – 8th level club Warrington Town (of north Cheshire), 8th level club Norton United (of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire), 6th level club Concord Rangers (of Canvey Island in Essex on the north side of the Thames Estuary), and 6th level club Gosport Borough (from Greater Portsmouth in Hampshire). Warrington Town play in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Norton United play in the Northern Premier League Division One South. Both Concord Rangers and Gosport Borough are playing their second season in the Conference South. One of these three FA Cup 1st Round debut teams – Norton United – have the lowest average crowd size of the 80 clubs in the First Round (at 131 per game). Three have home ties in the 1st Round, while Concord Rangers will play away to Mansfield Town.

Gosport Borough were formed in 1944. This is the club’s 70th anniversary. Gosport Borough wear yellow and navy blue, and their badge features an illustration of a Viking ship (in quasi-comic-strip style). They are located in Gosport, south Hampshire, on the small peninsula of the same name which lies just west of Portsmouth (the distance between Gosport and Portsmouth as the crow flies [or as the ferry sails] is 3 km or 2 miles; distance by road is 20 km or 12 mi). Gosport Borough played in the Hampshire League until 1978, when they joined the Southern League. They have seen several ups and downs since then, but are at present a club on the rise. Gosport Borough now are a 6th level club but four seasons ago (in 2011-12), they were in the 8th level. That season they won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division through the help of a wily old Football League veteran, the then-45-year-old (now 48-year-old) BBC 5-live/Guardian football pundit and analyst Steve Claridge (see him in 1st photo below). The Pompey-born Claridge came out of retirement to help a local club out, and because, why not? In the 2012 Southern League South play-off final, away to Poole Town, Gosport trailed 0-1 until the ex-Portsmouth/ex-Millwall/ex-18-other-football-clubs Claridge came off the bench to take the striker’s position and score in the 92nd minute to level the score at 1–1. In extra-time, Gosport scored twice, including one more by Claridge in the 98th minute, and Gosport won promotion back to the Southern League Prem for the first time in 22 years (the club had last been in the 7th level in 1989-90). Claridge scored 4 goals in 11 league games (and 7 goals overall) that season for Gosport, then he retired again.

The following season [2012-13], Gosport Borough again won promotion – to the 6th level for the first time. That season they squeaked into the Southern League Premier play-offs on the final day of the 12/13 campaign; then, after seeing off Stourbridge in the semi-final, Gosport beat Hemel Hempstead away in the 2013 Southern Prem play-off final (2-2 aet; 4-5 on penalties), to win promotion to the Conference South. Also two seasons ago in 2012-13, Gosport went all the way to the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, unfortunately losing 4-0 to ex-and-now-current-Football-League club Cambridge United (attendance at Wembley Stadium that day was a respectable 18,120).

Speaking of drawing good for Non-League, in the past few seasons, attendance has shot up considerably at Gosport Borough’s compact and nicely maintained Privett Park (capacity 3,000 with 1,000 seated). In just over three seasons, the club has more than doubled their turnstile count and have seen an increase of almost 300 per game. In 2011-12, Gosport drew 246 per game. Then Gosport drew 347 per game their last season in the Southern League in 12/13. Then they drew 437 per game their first season in the Conference South in 13/14. Now, currently, Gosport are averaging 539 per game (from home league matches to 4 Nov. 2014). Gosport’s Privett Park has a nice mix of old and new, specifically the wonderfully archaic Main Stand and the sparkling-new Harry Mizen Stand (see both below).

Gosport Borough are managed by Alex Pike, who has been manager at Gosport for quite a long time (for modern football) – since December 2005. In the 2014-15 FA Cup First Round, on Sunday the 9th of November, Gosport Borough will host 3rd division/League One side Colchester United (of Essex). From BBC.com/football, from 26 Oct. 2014, FA Cup: Gosport Borough relishing Colchester United visit.

Temporary stands at Privett Park will be allowed to be built, which will raise the capacity about 1,500 – from 3,000 to 4,500 {see this, Privett to gain extra seats and terracing for Cup tie (gosportboroughfc.co.uk)}. Gosport are confident they can fill that temporary capacity, this despite the fact that Portsmouth will also be hosting a First Round tie that same day (on Sunday the 9th Nov.) v. Aldershot of the Conference National (who are also Hampshire-based). And while on the subject of Hampshire-based Non-League clubs who qualified, I would be remiss if I did not mention another nearby club, Havant & Waterlooville (also of the Conference South and also very near to Portsmouth), who have now qualified for the FA Cup for the 5th time despite having only been formed (via merger) in 1998. Havant & Waterlooville will play host in the sole game (a televised game) scheduled for Monday the 10th Nov., v. third division side Preston North End of Lancashire. Hampshire is represented by the most number of clubs in the 14/15 First Round, with 6 (Aldershot Town, Basingstoke Town, Eastleigh, Gosport Borough, Havant & Waterlooville, Portsmouth). If you count Bury and Rochdale as from Greater Manchester (as opposed to their former situation in Lancashire), Lancashire has the second-most with 5 clubs in the Round; while Kent has third-most with 4 clubs in the Round.

[Note: Gosport ended up drawing 2,013 in their 3-6 loss to Colchester].

Below, Gosport Borough’s home ground, Privett Park, opened in 1937; capacity 3,000 with 1,000 seated…

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Action photo of the 45-year-old Steve Claridge playing for Gosport Borough from 10 Dec. 2011 by Paul Paxford at flickr.com/photos/paxie.
Semi-panorama photo of Privett Park by phildanmatt.weebly.com at phildanmatt.weebly.com/gosport-borough.html.
Photo of Main Stand by phildanmatt.weebly.com at phildanmatt.weebly.com/gosport-borough.html.
Photo of the Harry Mizen Stand at Privett Park by Andrew Ormerod at hoppingaroundhampshire.blogspot.com/2012/09/28-gosport-borough-fc.html.

Concord Rangers wear yellow and blue and are from Canvey Island in south-east Essex, just west of Southend-on-Sea. Canvey Island, now technically a peninsula, is a reclaimed island in the Thames estuary, located 49 km (30 mi) east of central London. Concord Rangers are the second-largest club from Canvey island, the biggest being former Conference side Canvey Island FC, who won the FA Trophy in 2001 and these days are a 7th level club which draws around 320 per game (Concord Rangers draw about 70 per game less than that at 250).

Concord Rangers started out in 1966 as simply a group of boys literally playing on the beach. This group included Steve Lant, whose father Albert was a founder of the club and is still today club president. The kids played friendlies on a pitch located at a beach called Concord Beach on the sea-front in Canvey Island – hence the club’s name…and their nickname of the Beach Boys. The next year, 1967, the club was officially formed and fielded a youth team; by 1973 the club had a (junior) squad playing in the local District league. Here is an excerpt from the Concord Rangers’ website…{excerpt}…”[In] 1985 Concord secured some land at Thames Road, Canvey Island, the club developed the clubhouse and ground with Jack Smith, current club treasurer being the mastermind behind the project, he organised the funds, labour and materials and worked many hours himself on the site…” {end of excerpt from http://www.concordrangersfc.com/history/}.

Concord Rangers still play within a bow-shot of the sea front (about .25 km away). You can see that in the illustration further below, which features (at the top-left there) a screenshot of a satellite image of the area surrounding the Thames Road ground in Canvey Island.

In 1992-93 Concord joined the 9th level Essex Senior League. 5 years later in 1997-98, after winning the Essex Senior League, Concord were denied promotion to the 7th/8th level Isthmian League set-up (due to an inadequate ground). 7 seasons later in 2003-04 they won the Essex Senior again, but were again denied promotion. Their third time was the charm, though as Concord won the Essex Senior League once again in 2007-08, and this time were allowed promotion, to the 8th-level Isthmian League Division One North for 2008–09. It only took Concord two seasons to advance again, when they won the Isthmian D1N in 2009-10, and were promoted to the 7th-level Isthmian League Premier Division. Three seasons later in 2012-13, Concord Rangers won promotion to the 6th level. Here is an excerpt from the Concord Rangers page at en.wikipedia.org,…{excerpt}…” [2012-13] saw Concord finish 4th in The Isthmian League Premier Division, consequently qualifying for the play-offs; which they won – defeating Wealdstone F.C. away 2-1 (AET) in the play-off semi-final, and beating Lowestoft Town F.C. away 2-1 in the play-off final in front of a crowd of 2,490, thus winning promotion to the Conference South for the 2013/14 season – the club’s highest ever level of competition. The club were also winners of The Isthmian League cup that season, defeating Dulwich Hamlet F.C. 3-2 AET at The Gallagher Stadium (home of Maidstone United F.C.)”…{end of excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord_Rangers_F.C.}.

In their first season in the Conference South in 2013-14, Concord Rangers finished a very creditable 7th place. They played to an average home crowd of 253 in 2013-14, having previously averaged 200 per game in the 7th level in 2012-13 and 190 per game the season before (2011-12). Concord currently (7 Nov. 2014) sit 11th in Conference South. Concord Rangers are managed by Danny Cowley, who is in his eighth season with the club, going back to when Concord were a ninth-level side.

On Saturday 8th November 2014, in the 2014-15 FA Cup 1st Round, Concord Rangers travel to Nottinghamshire to face 4th division/League Two side Mansfield Town at Field Mill (aka One Call Stadium).

From the Southend-on-Sea-based news site the Echo, from 26 Oct. 2014, by Luke Lambert, Concord Rangers hit new high after reaching FA Cup First Round (echo-news.co.uk/sport).

From BBC.co.uk. from 6 Nov. 2014, FA Cup: Good Vibrations for Canvey Island’s Beach Boys (bbc.com/sport/football).

[Note: the Mansfield v Concord match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch; on Tuesday the 18th of November, Concord drew 1-1 at Mansfield, and so a replay at Thames Road was played on Tuesday 25th November, and Mansfield beat Concord 0-1 in front of 1,537 at Thames Road in Canvey Island.]

Below, Concord Rangers’ home ground, Thames Road, capacity 3,300…

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Photo and Image credits above-
Screenshots of image of satellite view of Thames Road ground in Canvey Island, Essex, image from bing.com/maps
Photo at front gate of Thames Road ground, photo by theballissquare.co.uk/concord-rangers.
Photo of Joe Gardner scoring the winner that put Concord Rangers into the FA Cup 1st Round, photo by Andy Smith/Dragons Photography at echo-news.co.uk/sport.

Warrington Town, formed in 1949, wear yellow and blue and are nicknamed the Wire, for the town’s history as a center of the wire-pulling industry. Their home ground is Cantilever Park, capacity 3,500, which is adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal and the town’s cantilever bridge (which spans that waterway and looms over the ground, and which gives the ground its name). Warrington Town play in the 8th level Northern Premier League Division One North. This is their 11th consecutive season without a promotion or a relegation (the Wire lost in the play-offs semi-final last season). The club is from an area that is within the Rugby-League-belt of northern England, and Warrington Wolves RLFC are a top-flight rugby team in Super League who draw around 10 K per game (and are the only team that has played every first-division-season of RL [since 1895-96]). In other words, rugby league’s predominance in this section of northern England is why a town the size of Warrington (population of around 202,000 {2011 figure}) has a football club so low down the English football pyramid…because the town’s rugby league team draws the lion’s share of attention and support there. In fact, Warrington is the largest settlement in England without a Football League club. That is not to say there are not many followers and supporters of association football in Warrington – it is just that they have to (and do) go elsewhere in northwest England to watch League and Premier League football. Warrington Town are currently (as of 4 Nov. 2014) drawing 197 per game, which is down a bit from last season’s average of 212. The Wire currently sit 15th in their league (the NPLD 1N).

Warrington Town are managed by Peter Reid’s brother Shaun Reid. Shaun Reid was a tough-tackling defender who played 240 league matches for Rochdale (in two different spells) as well as 107 games for York City, in a career that went from 1983 to 2000. Here is an excerpt from Shaun Reid‘s Wikipedia page,…”Reid holds a UEFA A coaching badge and has had spells coaching at Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle. In January 2012 he was appointed as manager at Prescot Cables before leaving in March 2012 to become manager at Warrington Town.”

For the 2014-15 FA Cup 1st Round, on Friday evening the 7th of November, Warrington will host 4th division/League Two side Exeter City. The match has been selected as one of the televised matches for the First Round, and will be shown live on BBC in the UK, and on Fox Sports Plus in the USA and Canada (taped with a 2-hour delay at 5 pm ET/schedule here) [Broadcasting rights in UK, here].

[Note: Warrington Town drew a very solid 2,400 and had the biggest upset of the First Round, beating Exeter City 1-0. Exeter City is 4 leagues and over 100 places higher than Warrington Town. The goal was scored off a corner kick, by plasterer and defender Craig Robinson, in the 7th minute, {see this [Warrington Town 1-0 Exter City] (bbc.com/sport/football)}.]

Below, Warrington Town’s home ground, Cantilever Park, capacity 3,500 …

warrington-town_cantilever-park_2014-15-fa-cup-1st-round_debut_b_.gif
Image and Photo credits above -
Screenshot of image of satellite view of Cantilever Park in Warrington, Cheshire, image from bing.com/maps.
Photo of the Cantilever Park with the Warrington Cantilever Bridge looming behind, by skif at dubsteps.blogspot.com/2005/12/warrington-town-1-blyth-spartans-2.html.

Norton United are located in Smallthorne (population: around 4,161), which is in the northern part of Stoke-on-Trent [aka the Potteries]. Norton United’s location in Smallthorne is only about 3 km (or about 1.5 miles) east of Burslem, where third-division club Port Vale are located at Vale Park. [Note: Port Vale FC loaned Norton United their team coach (aka team bus), so the Norton squad were able to make the drive up to County Durham on Wednesday evening the 29th of October in comfort, which no doubt helped Norton beat Shildon AFC 1-2 in the 4th Qualifying Round re-play.] Also, Norton United are located about 5 km (or 3 mi) north of where Premier League club Stoke City are located in the Potteries at the Britannia Stadium.

Norton United now wear red-and-black-vertically-striped jerseys, but until a couple years ago they used to wear black-and-white-verticals {see this at the Boys in Black & White blog from August 2010}. Norton are a football club that has not even been in existence for three decades. Norton United were formed in 1989, initially, as the football team of Norton Cricket Club [named after the nearby Norton Colliery]. Joining the Staffordshire League in 1989-90, at the equivalent of the 13th level in the English football pyramid, Norton United have since won 5 promotions without a relegation. Their second-most recent promotion was in 2011-12, when they were North West Counties League Division One runner-up. Promoted to the NWCL Premier Division (into the 9th level), they won that league two seasons later in 2013-14, and now play in the 8th level in the Northern Premier League Division One South. Norton currently sit 13th in the NLPD 1S. Going by home average attendance Norton United are the smallest club to qualify for the 2014-14 FA Cup First Round. Norton Utd are currently drawing 131 per game, at their spartan and bare-bones ground, which is called the Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, and which has capacity of 1,500 with 200 seated (see below). Norton United have seen their current average crowd-size increase by 57 percent since last season (an increase of +48 per game) [in 2013-14 in the NWCL Prem, they averaged 83 per game].

Norton United are managed by former Stafford Rangers MF Scott Dundas, who is in his fourth season in charge and in 3 years has guided Norton from the 10th level to the 8th level. From 24 Oct. 2014, from BBC.com, FA Cup: Norton United boss keen to put Potteries side on the map (bbc.com/sport/football). On Saturday 8 November, Norton United will host 5th division/Conference side Gateshead (of Newcastle, in Tyne and Wearside).

[Note: Norton drew an overflow-capacity 1,762 in losing to Gateshead 0-4.]

Below, Norton United’s home ground, Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, capacity 1,500…

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Photo credits above -
Photo of Community Drive ground with view of Potteries in background, photo by pitch-side-stories.com at pitch-side-stories.com/category/nwcl.
2nd Photo by Uwdi Krugg at wherestheteahut.blogspot.com/2013/08/norton-united-4-runcorn-town-1.

___
Thanks to BBC.com/sport/football/fa cup, for fixtures list image, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.
Thanks to sharpcroft at Flickr.com via hemelfc.com, for illustration of kit badge for Hemel Hamstead home jersey, here.

Thanks to these sites for attendance figures -
Levels 3-6 at soccerway.com, such as us.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-n–s/20142015/north.
Levels 7-8 at nonleaguematters.co.uk/steps/steps-3-4.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, 2014–15 FA Cup.

Thanks to Blue76 for pointing out that I missed Concord Rangers as a debut club in the FA Cup 1st Round/ no thanks to whoever put together this erroneous factoid in the yellow-info-box in the following article at BBC/football {here}, which omits Concord Rangers as a debut team in the FA Cup Proper (they also omitted Norton United in that article’s info-box I just linked to, but that had not occurred at the time of that article’s posting because Norton had yet to qualify via their 4th QR re-play).

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