A key fixture of the post-Christmas football calendar is FA Cup 3rd Round weekend. The FA Cup is the oldest cup competition in the world. Steeped in history the cup was first held in 1871-72 and for the preceeding 140 years has been part of the fabric of English football.
The third round is held on the first weekend in January and is where the big teams from the top two divisions enter. In previous rounds teams from all walks of life have played in qualifying rounds, extra preliminary rounds plus the first and second rounds to get this far – and are now hoping for a tie against one of the heavyweights.
In the third round of the FA Cup form goes out of the window as teams who are miles apart in league standings meet. On cold, windy January afternoons players used to more luxurious surroundings at the top end of the football league ladder find themselves travelling to small grounds with the fans inches away from the touch-line. Portakabin dressing rooms and muddy, sloping bobbly pitches are the norm and those things combined can make it an uncomfortable game of football – unless you’re the home team.