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Day: November 8, 2010

The Orange FA Cup Ball: Not The Only Fruit

It began on Friday evening, with confused glances as the teams took to the pitch for the match between Rochdale and FC United of Manchester with the referee holding an orange ball. A fireworks display just up the road from the ground meant that there was a thin layer of smoke hovering over Spotland. Was this the possible reason for using a ball which, under floodlights and a certain degree of what could best be described as “murk”, wasn’t far short of invisible? It certainly seemed like an odd choice, and supporters of lower division and non-league clubs spent much of the weekend wondering what was going on as the ball was used at all ties. The answer, of course, was marketing. The orange ball, which spent its weekend largely being disparaged by anyone that took one glance at it, is the Umbro Hi Vis Neospark. The usual claims are all there – it utilises laser technology for a “truer” flight, and so on – but none of this amounts to a hill of beans if people watching the matches are having difficulty even seeing it. The blurb makes reference to “classic orange colour that inspires memories of famous FA Cup encounters from the past”, all of which points to somebody at either Umbro or the FA deciding that it would be a good idea to introduce an orange...

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Wimbledon vs …them: Not Something To Get “Excited” About

Most people know the way that Milton Keynes obtained their football club. It was wrong then and it is still wrong now, which makes this fixture very painful for us. However, when we entered the FA Cup we understood that this might happen and we will go about our business professionally and complete the fixture. But we would have preferred that it hadn’t happened. We have no further comment to make at the moment. The response of AFC Wimbledon was as dignified as we would expect from the club. The FA Cup draw, however, has been made and, should they both win their replays the week after next, Wimbledon will meet the organisation that took their league place in 2004 in the Second Round of the competition. Predictably, the press reaction to the draw has been somewhat breathless, although most have stopped short of the crassest comment of all, to say that this is “the match that everybody wants to see”, or somesuch. There is absolutely no question that this draw was absolutely not the draw that supporters of Wimbledon wanted to see. Some are muttering under their breath that they would prefer Ebbsfleet to win the replay. Some may boycott. Some may turn to violence. The media may want it, but Wimbledon certainly doesn’t. The club, however, has stated its position in clear terms. The potential sanctions for...

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