For Lincoln City, the only thing remotely related to the ‘magic of the FA Cup’ in tonight’s fifth round draw was actually being in it. Pulling out Premier League Burnley wasn’t just rewards for our herculean efforts this season.
I’m out at Louth, but as Burnley came out of the bag I could here the shouts of ‘not effing Burnley’ all the way up here in the Wolds. Yesterday I mentioned it as the nightmare draw we didn’t want, the only plus being it happened early in the draw so our hopes weren’t built up too much.
So why am I so unhappy at going to Turf Moor? Firstly, and perhaps most pertinently, the ticket allocation. Turf Moor holds just over 22,500 fans, so we can expect an allocation of around 4,000 tickets max. The one thing we didn’t want was an away draw that afforded less ticketing opportunity to fans than a home draw. To put that into perspective, Portman Road holds 30,000.
In truth despite their Premier League status, Burnley is a less prestigious draw than Ipswich away, and I was disappointed with that in the third round. The magic of that day out in the South East will be long forgotten as a ticket scrum ensues once again. As someone on Twitter has already pointed out, the cries of ‘I deserve a ticket because’ will probably have already started. As a non-season ticket holder, and a full time worker over 30 miles away, I suspect that my FA Cup journey has already ended.
We’re no strangers to Turf Moor either. Whilst Ipswich was a place we hadn’t visited in 60 years, and the fifth round somewhere we haven’t been in 130 years, Burnley is a place I last went to in December 1998. It was cold, it was a long way away and we got a bore draw with Gary Brabin in the team. There’s nothing too unusual about heading up to Lancashire for older fans, we played there throughout the eighties and nineties, often with very little luck.
I know I’ll get shot down by those who think I’m just moaning, and for someone as upbeat and pro-everything as me it is unusual. I spent the whole of today dreading the draw, because the pessimist in me knew what was coming. We don’t get Arsenal, Chelsea or Man Utd in any competitions, we get the bum draws. The last time we played any of those three competitively was 1919, 1911 and 1934 respectively. No offence to Burnley, but as a cup tie it is as truly magical as Hermione Grainger’s used sanitary products.
I’m chuffed (and jealous) for Sutton though, they got their big draw at home. It won’t bring in the gate revenue but I guarantee they’ll get the BBC slot and all the lovely dosh that comes with it. Will the telly come to Turf Moor as well? Doubtful, The FA are bound to want their favourite team and Blackburn to feature. Financially we’ll get half of a circa 16,000 gate and maybe some highlights on Match of the Day. Cheers Robbie Savage.
So what are the positives? Well I suppose the Victor Meldrew in me could be wrong, we might squeeze a live game and therefore blag £250,000 to add to the growing war chest. In my mind at the moment it is doubtful, but in my mind at the moment our valiant and historic efforts of Saturday have been forgotten in a haze of disappointment.
The other plus side is that it may (may) just be winnable. Burnley fielded a weakened side against Bristol City on Saturday and they’ll almost certainly do the same against us. We proved on Saturday that eleven men playing a mixture of kids and reserves can compete no matter what level they’re from, and a win at Turf Moor wouldn’t just be historic, it would be of ‘Leicester winning the Prem’ proportions. However, Burnley have won their last six games at home, the last time anyone took anything away from there was November 26th. It might sound winnable because we’ve been there before, but in truth to get them back to Sincil Bank would be a monumental effort, and one that could derail our push for League Football.
I don’t want to sound so negative about such a wonderful achievement by our team, but away at Burnley is no reward for the efforts that they’ve put in this season. Given their (relatively) small ground and the fact that, despite playing there regularly throughout the nineties, we haven’t won in Burnley since 1988, I feel that the players have been cheated out of their well-earned big day. Burnley may play in the Premier League, but the draw is decidedly Championship.
Thank you to Burnley for the loan of Josh Ginnelly today. Please don’t recall him just because I’ve been mildly insulting. Cheers.