Fixture: Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replay
Date: Tuesday 19 October 2021
Teams: FC Halifax Town v Pontefract Collieries
Venue: The Shay Stadium
Result: FC Halifax Town (1) – (0) Pontefract Collieries
Programme cost: Complimentary
The FA Cup has taken a battering over the last few years with its importance to clubs clouded by the riches of the UEFA Champions League, and the money earned as members of the Premier League. But it has also been eroded in other ways. What traditionally has been the closing fixture of a domestic season has seen it shifted to before the end of season, and also kick-off time moved from its 3pm slot. Replays too have been deemed surplus to requirements from certain rounds in order to reduce the number of games played by the ‘stars’ of the Premier League, although there is a certain irony as invariably Premier League clubs generally don’t field a full strength side and resting the aforementioned ‘stars’.
Thankfully replays still survive in the earlier rounds although only one is permitted and so fans will never again witness the type of marathon that occurred in the 1971/72 FA Cup. Back then, the Fourth Qualifying Round game between Alvechurch and Oxford City became the longest FA Cup tie ever, lasting a total of eleven hours before Alvechurch won the fifth replay 1–0. The six matches were played at five different grounds – Alvechurch’s Lye Meadow (2-2), Oxford City’s White House ground (1-1), St Andrew’s, Birmingham (1-1), Oxford United’s Manor Ground (0-0 and 0-0) and finally, Villa Park, Birmingham (1-0 to Alvechurch). Sadly, a piece of Cup tradition and magic lost and never to be repeated.
So to the programme for this game coming about after Northern Premier League East Division Pontefract Collieries held National North side FC Halifax Town to a 0-0 draw. Good planning by Halifax will have seen their media team prepared for a replay in terms of programme content. On the night and with a short turnaround the 36-pager is impressive.
In terms of size it is the commonly used A5, with a thicker paper (especially the cover) and a colour matt finish, different to many clubs who print with a thinner paper and gloss colour finish. The cover proudly gives the title of the programme, the Shaymen Shout, (the club play at The Shay Stadium with the club nicknamed The Shaymen) and carries a wonderful image of Jordan Slew in the game at Pontefract. Standard details include, issue number, teams, competition, date and kick-off time, as well as the logos of the FA Cup, and the club’s three main sponsors, Core, nuie and Adidas.
The inside cover (page 2) is an advert for the Kick It Out campaign, although it is last season’s version. Contents are listed on page 3, with a list of club officials. Pages 4 and 5 are Boardroom Notes, which provide a reflection on the game at Pontefract, a general overview on the Fourth Qualifying Round results and update on the injuries within the club, accompanied by an action shot from the game against The Colls. This is followed by another double-page spread, this time given over to manager Pete Wild with the background a cracking image of the Shaymen’s gaffer. It is a short piece with the usual welcome to the visitors, thoughts on the tie at Pontefract and a thank-you to the fans for their continued support. Captain’s Column from Niall Maher can be found on pages 8 and 9 with a full page picture of the skipper training and his views on the draw at Ponte, his disappointment at the draw for the First Round and a look ahead to the next league fixture at Solihull Motors.
The next four pages are given over to a feature article titled Meynell’s Memories, 100 Years of The Shay, which is an interesting read. It opens with a reminder that the last time Pontefract were at The Shay, they were beaten 14-3 in a West Riding County Cup match. What is not mentioned though is that Halifax were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player Instead the focus of the piece is a look at the FA Cup Second Round Replay from January 1967 when Halifax beat Bishop Auckland 7-0 and a profile on one of the scorers that day, Bill Atkins.
Page 14 is the FA’s advert for its Player app, with page 15 an advert for the club’s home shirt and on-line shop. There follows a double-spread given over to the Travellers’ Tales and their description of the day out at Ponte in the tie from a fans perspective. This brings us to the centre-fold which has a picture of the current FC Halifax Town squad. There is no title to say as such or indeed details of the squad line-up and it would have been useful to have included them.
Page 20 is an advert for one of the club’s sponsors, Core, with page 21 a slightly strange image given it shows a part of the home end terrace with no text to provide any context – maybe just a page filler given the tight deadline for production. The next four pages are for the Shaymen’s club fundraising and commercial efforts with Play the Square and Goal O’ Meter on pages 22 and 23 respectively and a double-page spread for player sponsorships.
The visitors Pontefract Collieries are afforded the next four pages, with In Brief, (manager) Craig Rouse and Club Connections featured on page 27 against a great backdrop picture of Pontefract’s Regional Electrical Service Stadium, with 10 things about The Colls on the next page. The shame about the 10 things list, is that some are repeated from the content on page 27. Page 29 provides a match report from the Last Time Out, which could have benefitted from the addition of the team-line-ups. The one thing that leaps out in respect of the visitors content and which may have been useful for home fans to read would have been the pen-pics for Ponte.
Page 30 is an advert for club sponsor nuie, with the next a guide to the forthcoming away game at Solihull Moors, including details of the nearest Wetherspoons to the venue! Pages 32-33 are the Fixtures and Results, with all the associated annotation required to understand competition, goal-scorers and team line-ups. Page 34 is an advert for the next home game v Dagenham & Redbridge and 35 (the inside cover) a picture of club skipper Maher applauding the home crowd. Finally, the back cover provides the team badges and squad lists with details of the match officials. It also handily includes a QR code which links to the club website.
Overall this a decent effort, which has good clean design and some great images which are not just the run-of-the-mill actions shots but enhance and complement the text. There are some typos and areas where content could be improved, but given the turnaround time for production, they can be forgiven.