The Magic of the Cup: does it even exist anymore?
Well, if you’re an Eastleigh FC fan, it would be fair to say that the magic is well and truly underway.
With the club’s 1-1 draw against Championship stragglers Bolton Wanderers on the 9th of January, Eastleigh go into tonight’s replay at the Macron Stadium tonight knowing full well that a win would mark a momentous achievement for a club which, not 15 years ago, were occupying a position in the Wessex League. Currently, the Hampshire club occupies a play-off spot in the National League, surpassing established ex-Football League clubs such as Torquay United, Lincoln City and Tranmere Rovers.
So, everyone loves an underdog story, right? Well, not everyone it seems. To the anger of many a neutral fan across the country, chomping at the bit for a potential FA Cup upset, the BBC has decided to air the replay of Premier League high-fliers Leicester and Tottenham: two teams which, come the end of this season, will have played each other a total of four times.
So, is the club upset at such a snub? Well, just ask Eastleigh’s chairman, Stewart Donald, who is bewildered by the fickleness of the BBC to say the least:
‘“One minute we have Football Focus down here talking about the romance of the Cup and the next they tell us we’re not being shown live”
The Hampshire club would have received a healthy £72,000 for live coverage of their game against Bolton: £8,000 less than the weekly salary of Tottenham’s French keeper, Hugo Lloris. And to make matters worse, should Eastleigh win their third round tie against Bolton, their fourth round match up with Leeds United would also not be covered: yet another financial opportunity denied from the National League side.
Nevertheless, it must be said that this David vs Goliath battle promises to be an absolute cracker, with the dizzy heights of the FA Cup fourth round firm in the Spitfires’ line of sight.