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January 1, 2015

2014-15 FA Cup, Third Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances./ Plus a look back at the 1988 FA Cup Final (Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool). /Plus, an illustrated article on the Blyth Spartans, the Non-League club that went the furthest in the FA Cup in the post-War era (in 1977-78).

Filed under: 2014-15 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 12:39 pm

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2014-15 FA Cup, Third Round: location-map with current average attendances



FA Cup fixtures, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.
BBC.co.uk/FA Cup.

Televised matches (all the matches live in the UK and in the USA & Canada)…
Friday 2 January 2015:
Cardiff City v Colchester United, 7:45 pm GT at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, South Wales, Wales, UK (live on BBC-Wales only).
Saturday 3 January 2015:
Tranmere Rovers v Swansea City, 3 pm GT [/10 am ET] at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, South Wales, Wales, UK (live in USA & Canada only on Fox Sports 1 at 10 am ET).
West Bromwich v Gateshead, 3 pm GT [/10 am ET] at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich [Greater Birmingham], West Midlands (live in USA & Canada only on Fox Sports 2 at 10 am ET).
Sunday 4 January 2015:
Dover Athletic v Crystal Palace, 1 pm GT at the Crabble Athletic Ground in River [adjacent to Dover], Kent (live on BT Sport in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 8 am ET).
Manchester City v Sheffield Wednesday, 3 pm GT at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester (not broadcast in the UK; only in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 2 at 10 am ET).
Yeovil Town v Manchester United, 3:30 pm GT at Huish Park in Yeovil, Somerset (live on BT Sport in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 am ET).
Arsenal v Hull City, 5:30 pm GT at Emirates Stadium in Hollloway, Greater London N5 (live on the BBC in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 12:30 pm ET).
Monday 5 January 2015:
AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool, 8:55 pm GT at Kingsmeadow in Kingston-upon-Thames, Greater London KT1 (live on the BBC in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 2:45 ET).
Tuesday 6 January 2015:
Everton v West Ham United, 7:45 pm at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool L4 (live on BT Sport in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 pm ET).

For the first time in their twelve-year existence, AFC Wimbledon have qualified for the FA Cup 3rd Round…
And wouldn’t you know it, supporter-owned AFC Wimbledon, heir to Wimbledon FC (1889 to 2004), will host Liverpool, at their Kingsmeadow ground in southwest London. It will be a re-match of Wimbledon FC’s greatest win, the 1988 FA Cup Final, which saw First Division upstarts Wimbledon beat the-just-crowned-champions-of-England Liverpool, 1-0, at the old Wembley Stadium in front of 98,203. Northern Ireland international MF Lawrie Sanchez headed in the winner on a cross from MF Dennis Wise in the 37th minute. The match featured the first-ever penalty save in an FA Cup final – a full-stretch diving-save by the captain of Wimbledon, Dave Beasant – off of a John Aldridge penalty attempt in the 60th minute. Then Wimbledon held Liverpool scoreless for the final 30 minutes after that brilliant save, and Wimbledon FC of Plough Lane [aka the Crazy Gang], were the improbable FA Cup champions of 1988. It is generally viewed as one of the greatest FA Cup upsets ever {see this article from Jan. 2014, where it is ranked #3 … Are these the greatest FA Cup upsets ever? (thescore.ie)}.

{See this 6:38 youtube video, [goal at 2:10 / penalty call (blown call) at 3:10 / save at 3:55], 15/05/1988 Liverpool v Wimbledon [1988 FA Cup Final] (youtube.com)}.

Wimbledon FC (1889-2004), improbable FA Cup winners of 1988…
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Photo and Image credits above -
Lawrie Sanchez heading in the winner, photo by Getty Images via mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/vinnie-jones-remembers-crazy-gang. Lawrie Sanchez celebrating the goal, photo unattributed at liverpoolkits.com/liverpool1988fa-cup. Dave Beasant making the first-ever goalkeepersper-save in an FA Cup Final, photo by David Cannon/Allsport via Guardian.com/football. Wimbledon manager Bobby Gould jumping into the arms of Vinnie Jones in celebration of the upset win, photo unattributed at i4.coventrytelegraph.net. Dennis Wise clowning with the trophy lid, with Dave Beasant in the background, photo by Foto Sports International via dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/413742/Chelsea-legend-Dennis-Wise-Football-crazy-days. John Fashanu on image from T-shirt at punkfootball.com/John-Fashanu-1988-AFC-Wimbledon-Navy-T-Shirt. Crazy Gang still celebrating while getting the team photo in after the win, photo unattributed at port.bt.com/sportfootball/football/where-are-they-now-wimbledons-fa-cup-final-winning-team.
Plough Lane, photo unattributed at ebay.co.uk/itm/Wimbledon-FC-Inside-Plough-Lane-Football-Stadium-Photo-Memorabilia. “Not in the greater interests…” [infamous quote from FA report which consigned Wimbledon FC to to the dustbin of history by allowing ownership to move the club to Milton Keynes], image from a banner at afcwimbledon-mad.co.uk. Wimbledon FC’s boarded up HQ in South London, photo by Getty Images via telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/AFC-Wimbledon-ready-to-go-back-to-Plough-Lane.

Blyth Spartans, the lowest-placed (and lowest-drawing) club still alive in the 2014-15 FA Cup..
From Blyth, Northumberland (population ~35,000 {2001 figure}), Blyth Spartans play in the 7th-level Northern Premier League Premier Division and are the lowest-placed club still in the competition. In the Second Round, on Friday 5th December, at Victoria Park in Hartlepool, County Durham, Blyth Spartans took a scalp of a team three divisions above them when they beat League Two/4th-division side Hartlepool United 1-2 to advance to the FA Cup Third Round. The winner was scored by 21-year-old striker/newstand clerk Jarret Rivers in extra time. 1,100 Blyth supporters traveled the 66 km (41 mi) down the coast to Hartlepool to root their club on {see this, Hartlepool United 1-2 Blyth Spartans (bbc.co.uk/fa cup)}. At that point in time, the league-placement difference between Blyth Spartans and Hartlepool was 65 places and 3 levels.

Blyth is located 21 km (13 mi) north of Newcastle in England’s northern-most historic county, Northumberland. Blyth Spartans are the northern-most club in the England football leagues system (of clubs within levels 1 through 8 within the English football pyramid). [Although Berwick Rangers from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumbria are located further north...but they play in the Scottish football leagues system (in the Scottish 4th division).]

Blyth Spartans wear green-and-white vertically-striped jerseys. They play at Croft Park, which has a capacity of 4,435 with 556 seated (see illustration below). The ground’s Main Stand (aka the Port of Blyth Stand), looms over the rest of the terraced ground in all its brick-walled and bright-green-metal-roofed glory. Blyth Spartans are managed by Tom Wade, who is 56 years old and supported the club in his childhood. Wade is back for his third spell with the club in a coaching capacity (previously as caretaker-manager and as an assistant coach), and also has coaching experience with Gateshead, Newcastle Blue Star and Harrogate Town.

Blyth Spartans had their highest league placement in 2006-07, at 7th place in the 6th-level Conference North. This was during a 6-season spell in the Conference North, which they had won promotion to after winning the NPL PD in 2005-06 (as well as the league cup that season). Since relegation in 2012, they have remained in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. They currently sit 16th with several games in hand, and are averaging 450 per game, which is an improvement of 90 per game over their average crowd size last season.

In the 2014-15 FA 3rd Round, on Saturday 3rd January, Blyth Spartans will face 2nd division side Birmingham City. Prior to winning 3 of their last 5 league matches, Birmingham City (currently in 14th place), had been struggling yet again in the Football League Championship, so that suggests that another giant-killing is not out of the question.

Blyth Spartans qualify for the FA Cup 3rd Round once again…
Blyth Spartans have now qualified for the FA Cup 3rd Round for the fourth time in their history (in 1971-72, in 1977-78, in 2008-09, and now in 2014-15/ see this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blyth_Spartans_FA_Cup_exploits). Of course Blyth Spartans’ greatest moment was 37 years ago. On 6th February 1978, they qualified for the FA Cup Fifth Round, after a massive 4th Round upset – beating then-2nd-division-side Stoke City 2-3 before 18,765 at the old Victoria Park in Stoke-on-Trent. Blyth Spartans then went on to face 3rd-division-side Wrexham in the 5th Round, taking them to a replay before bowing out (note: Wrexham won the Third Division that season [1977-78]). Wrexham advanced to the Quarterfinals instead of Blyth, but only just, because Wrexham had forced a replay by scoring late in the match on a controversial retaken corner kick (re-taken twice), which the ref ruled on, due to a downed corner-flag on the initial corner kick (as you can see in the video at the link below). The replay was played on 27 February 1978 at St James’ Park in Newcastle before 42,167 (with over 10,000 locked outside the ground). But Blyth Spatans fell to Wrexham 1-2.

Here is a 5:44 youtube video with match highlights and interviews, about the Blyth Spartans 1978 FA Cup Run (5:44 video uploaded by GriefTourist at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70j23pg6S5g). [This video is from a broadcast from the 2008-09 FA Cup 3rd Round circa first week of January 2009.]

There have been 7 Non-League teams to make it to the 5th Round of the FA Cup since 1945-46 {see this, List of non-league clubs in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup since 1945}, but only one of those sides forced a replay – Blyth Spartans. So, regardless of that cruel twist of fate with respect to that pesky corner flag, Blyth Spartans are to this day the only Non-League club in the post-War era to have made it to the FA Cup Quarterfinals draw. Had that corner flag not fallen over twice in the half-frozen mud in North Wales (and had the ref not been such a stickler), Blyth Spartans would have hosted Arsenal in March of 1978, in the FA Cup Quarterfinals.

Here is an article on Blyth Spartans’ 1977-78 Cup run, from the When Saturday Comes site, by Ken Sproat from April 2005, Blyth Spartans 1977-78 (wsc.co.uk/the-archive).

Here is an another article on Blyth Spartans’ 1977-78 Cup run, from the Blyth Spirit blog, The Goal That Made History – Classic Matches – Stoke City FA Cup 1977/1978 Stoke City 2 Blyth Spartans 3 (blythspirit.wordpress.com).

Below,
Croft Park, home of Blyth Spartans, w/ a sidebar on the 1977-78 Blyth Spartans: the Non-League team that went the furthest in the FA Cup (post-War era)…

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Photo credits above -
Panoramic photo of part of Croft Park featuring Main Stand (Port of Blyth Stand), photo by tigerroar.co.uk/blythspartans.
Main Stand (Port of Blyth Stand), photo by chroniclelive.co.uk/all-about/blyth-spartans-afc.
Terry Johnson celebrating with traveling Blyth fans after scoring v Wrexham in the 1977-78 FA Cup 4R at the Racecorse Ground in Wrexham, image from a screenshot from Blyth Spartans 1977 78 FA Cup Run Remembered (video uploaded by Brian Grey at youtube.com).
1978 FA Cup %th Round replay programme, photo unattributed from chroniclelive.co.uk.
Blyth Spartans supporters with banners at Croft Park terraces, photo unattributed at therealfacup.co.uk/2011/02/27/blame-it-on-a-corner-flag.
Jarret Rivers after scoring v Hartlepool in 2014-15 FA Cup 2R at Victoria Park, photo by Jason Cairnduff at chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football.

___
Thanks to these sites for attendance figures -
Levels 1 through 6 at soccerway.com.
Level 7 (Blyth Spartans) at nonleaguematters.co.uk.

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

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