Date: 12th November 2006 at 9:17pm
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Former England cricket captain Graham Gooch managed to win the lottery for the leaders of the Conference South side Salisbury City by pulling number 10, Nottingham Forest out of the 2nd round draw hat.

The Whites can look forward to their beautiful Wiltshire town being invaded by all the sporting journo low life, Fleet Street and Sky can muster. They will get more publicity from this, than any event in their history, all on the backs of ‘twice former European Champions.’ (get used to it, you’ll here it quite a lot in the coming weeks)

SCFC were founded in 1947 and play at The Raymond McEnhill Stadium, capacity is 3,740, so if the game is not moved, tickets for the tie will be at a premium. They made it through to the 2nd round of the FA Cup by beating Fleetwood Town 3-0 in front of their biggest ever crowd of 2,638 (the clubs average is 1,145.) There is already talk of moving the tie, but the FA may not be happy with this. Other venues could be Southampton’s St Marys’, or The Fitness First Stadium at Bournemouth. If the boys from Wilts have any hope of winning, they would perhaps be better off playing the game at home, but the club may pursue the money making option of an alternative venue.

Manager Nick Holmes (who was 52 yesterday and couldn’t have wished for a better birthday present,) played for Southampton in the 1979 League Cup Final against Forest and scored one of the best goals seen at Wembley in The Reds’ 3-2 victory. He did however run out an FA Cup winner in 1976 again with The Saints, beating Man Utd 1-0. He became manager of The Whites in 2002 and won the Southern League Premier Division championship 2005-06. They are currently top of the Conference South.

On any other given day, admission to ‘The Ray Mac’ will cost the average punter £8, £5 for concessions and a whopping £3-5 for 16/21 year olds. Call me a cynic, but i think there is a price increase on the horizon. Car parking is an extortionate £1! Facilities at the Ray Mac include floodlights and two tea huts according to the official site.

Anyhoots, the game looks set to be televised, so it will be ‘hold on to your testicles time’ if the Reds’ serve up their normal TV performance. All in all, the fixture has all the ingredients and romance of the FA Cup and should make for a great day out.

 

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