Wilson’s Wisdom: Hard cash talks when FA Cup weekend is ruined by DIY project

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury   Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury Picture: Dave Haines
Gosport Borough won 1-0 in their match against Dunstable this afternoon. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport Borough get first victory of season

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Wilson’s Wisdom is the weekly Sports Mail column written by sports reporter Steve Wilson...

Should anyone be surprised that the FA Cup fixtures have been affected by TV?

This weekend, our three leading clubs are in FA Cup first round action.

And none of them are playing on a Saturday at 3pm.

Sorry folks, the excuse for that DIY project you were putting off, that shopping trip you’ve been dreading has been ripped from your grasp.

It’s too much to expect that anyone should pay too much close attention to the logistics of our city and its neighbouring towns.

And, let’s be honest, some are delighted that these games have been moved so the armchair fan doesn’t have to get off his backside.

Pompey, Havant & Waterlooville and Gosport Borough have some close bonds these days.

Okay, we might be stretching it a touch to suggest that the Hawks and Borough are bosom buddies – after all they are rivals in the same division and had a two-legged ding-dong for a place at Wembley last season.

But there are Pompey fans who like to watch non-league football when they can and there are non-league fans who go to Fratton Park.

For those who were keen to enjoy the excitement of a three-pronged FA Cup weekend and attend all the matches, those plans have been scuppered.

Some now have to make a choice on where to go.

Pompey and Gosport will be playing their games on Sunday at 2pm, while Hawks are in action the following evening.

Poor Preston fans are supposed to make a 530-mile round trip on a Monday when a lot of normal folk tend to have to go to work.

Can we really complain about it though?

Hawks will benefit to the tune of £67,500 when their match is televised on BT Sport, while Borough and Pompey will get £12,500 for their part in BBC One’s coverage of the eight Sunday matches.

Sadly, money talks.

It seems non-league clubs rarely speak about the dream of taking a huge scalp in the FA Cup.

These days, it seems to be about how much cash they can rake in if they are handed the right tie.

It simply didn’t used to be that way, or if it did, nobody talked about it too much.

After the draw was made, the first question was always whether your team had a chance of making it through to the next round, rather than if the TV companies would choose it for live coverage.

Perhaps the chairman would have a little grin on his face in the background at the prospect of a bumper gate.

These days, it’s the first question on the lips of many: ‘How much can we make out of it?’

This is by no means a criticism of Hawks or Gosport Borough.

They are not to blame for attempting to maximise their earning potential.

They are among those many clubs in the football community who have been forgotten or considered as irrelevant by the Premier League financial powerhouses.

The game sold out long ago and that has filtered down through the various levels with non-league clubs left scrapping for the crumbs from the table.

TV has a lot to answer for in the modern game.

And the worst part of it is that I have to go to IKEA on Saturday...