Players dream of cup glory... and clubs are glad of the cash

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Believe it or not, there are only three weeks to the start of the new football season.

Currently, though, all eyes are on new signings, friendly fixtures and the FA Cup draws, and the nest eggs each round brings in.

In the FA Cup there was a reaction to leagues increasing their numbers and applications going to an all time high, so the Football Association had to stop the membership at 737 clubs competing, which is a record.

Consequently Hallam are out of the cup for the first time in years, which is a big blow financially and very disappointing for the fans and players alike.

As new manager Chris Sellars pointed out: “We can only hope for a better season this year and perhaps get back into the Premier League and FA Cup next season.”

Life goes on, though, and it kicks off on Saturday August 17, with Maltby Main at home to Congleton Town, Staveley at home to Ashton Town and a strong Worksop Parramore entertaining AFC Blackpool, whilst I will be at Green Lane where a new-look Parkgate face a tricky tie against Shirebrook Town under the new management of Julian Watts.

The winner of each tie in the Extra Preliminary Round receives £1,500.

In the Preliminary Round two weeks later, wins for our clubs would see Worksop Parramore travelling to Mossley, Staveley facing a tough day out at Bamber Bridge, Maltby Main would visit Prescott Cables.

I will be at the BT Local Business Stadium where Sheffield FC entertain Parkgate, and £1,925 awaits each winner in this round.

In the FA Trophy, which kicks off on September 7, Sheffield FC travel to newly-promoted Padiham in the preliminary round, where £2,500 awaits the winners.

On October 5 in the First Qualifying Round, Frickley Athletic are at home to Brigg Town or Bamber Bridge; Warrington Town or Ramsbottom Untied entertain a young Worksop Town; Padiham or Sheffield travel to Ashton United and I will be at The Look Local Stadium where Stocksbridge Park host either Prescott Cables or Scarborough Athletic with £2,700 awaiting the winners.

In the FA Vase our four clubs are all blessed with home games in the opening First Qualifying Round on September 7.

Hallam face Shirebrook Town, Maltby Main entertain Squires Gate at Muglet Lane, Worsbrough Bridge host Ashton Town and I will be at The Memorial Ground where Penistone Church entertain Rossington Main in their first ever Vase encounter.

Pre season games can be a bug bear, a view to a new season and players, or a real money spinner.

But however you look at them, there is no doubt they can attract crowds that help our non-league clubs through another very difficult financial season.

The first match up saw a new-look Parkgate side put up a good showing before losing 2-0 at Green Lane to Rotherham United.

The match, though, saw The Green Lane ground record smashed as 1,200 watched the game, much to the delight of Parkgate’s treasurer!

Rossington Main lost 3-0 at Oxford Street to Doncaster Rovers, but again a crowd of 1,243 softened the defeat considerably.

Finance is a subject Dinnington Town know all about, but last Tuesday a young Sheffield Wednesday side played them at Phoenix Park, and drew 2-2 in front of a healthy crowd of 220. Liam Cartledge and Alex Nightingale scored for Town.