FA Cup has lost none of its glamour says St Albans City boss Ian Allinson
- Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY
Anyone asking whether the FA Cup has lost its appeal, its mystique or its glamour should take one look at the euphoria surrounding St Albans City this week says boss Ian Allinson.
The Saints will step out at Clarence Park on Sunday evening in front of the Match of the Day Live cameras when Forest Green Rovers visit in the FA Cup first round.
And the City boss, speaking to Herts Ad Sport on Monday, was already rushed off his feet helping to set the stage for their big day.
"At this level the FA Cup has lost none of its glamour," he said.
"The way the city has reacted in the two weeks since beating Corinthian Casuals and the way the club have reacted shows the FA Cup still means a lot for many, many people.
"There is so much money in the Premier League that rounds three, four and five tend to get put on the back burner for a lot of the big clubs.
"You used to wipe out FA Cup final day. You’d get up in the morning and watch TV for eight hours, watching the build up and the game and then the presentation.
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"A lot of that has faded away and that has taken away a bit of the gloss and the glamour."
Such has been the interest that the club have already announced it will be a sell-out, the improved safety work at the ground and expanded entrances and exits pushing the figure close to 4,000 - almost a 1,000 more than saw City face Carlisle United at the same stage five years ago.
"It’s been unbelievable," said the boss. "There has been loads of people who have rang wanting tickets and it is so sad that we have to say there are none.
"There may be some become available last minute when we know how many of the Forest Green allocation have been sold.
"That will only be few hundred though if at all."
Allinson also felt that there were stages in the 2-1 win over Eastbourne Borough on Saturday when the circus surrounding the game was finally playing on the players' minds.
He said: "It’s been a strange time and the first half against Eastbourne was the only time I felt the players had their minds on Forest Green.
"Against Billericay and Bath we were excellent, and we were in the second half on Saturday.
"The players were first class but as the momentum [for the FA Cup game] grew, and the tickets started to be sold and we knew it was on TV, that was the first time I felt the occasion had got to some of the players.
"We had to remind one or two at half-time to focus on winning the league, which is first and foremost our job.
"We’ve taken our chance to get to this stage. The first game against Corinthian Casuals, we didn’t deserve to be where we are now but you ride your luck in any competition and if you go back to the Concord game in the second qualifying round, they have had a goal disallowed early on and then Michael Johnson has saved a penalty with five minutes to go.
"You need a bit of luck at times."