Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Mon 7 January 2008

Don't mention the draw...

After the heady excitement of seeing several Premier League teams knocked-out by smaller opposition in Round 3, today we had the draw for the Fourth Round of the FA Cup (sponsored by E.On).

Not that you'll see it on this site, oh no. Nope, we had our fingers burnt once before where that sort of thing's concerned and we won't be falling into that trap again.

It was back in June 2007 when we gazed in awe at the fixtures that had just been announced by the FA for the opening weeks of the new Premier League season. How we drooled at the prospect of all those top teams waiting to do battle again after so many weeks of Summer inactivity.

We couldn't wait to share that initial batch of fixtures with you, so we did the only decent thing we could think of: we published them on our site. That's what set the alarm off in the FA boardroom.

Within a couple of days, we were contacted by a company who shall remain nameless (for reasons which will become clear) who, it was claimed, were acting on behalf of the aforementioned governing body. They said they'd noticed we'd published details of the opening weeks' fixtures, and as we'd done so without asking for permission (or paying the extortionate sum of money they were asking for) we should remove them from our site or face the consequences.

As we didn't want a gang of henchmen banging on our door demanding to be let in so they could detach a certain dangly collection of objects from our bodies with a blunt knife, we agreed to do what they said.

And apparently we weren't the only ones. I've been on other blog sites that were also contacted for this so-called breach of the law, and they had to face the same unreasonably heavy-handed attitude as well.

Now at this point I could surely go on for hours about why you have to pay thousands of pounds for a license to use the FA's fixture details when various newspapers and TV companies are displaying them to a worldwide audience of millions, but I won't. I'll leave that for you to contemplate.

Instead, as we always try to provide the best news service we can for you, our loyal visitors, here ARE the key fixtures from today's draw for the Fourth Round of the FA Cup using as much detail as possible without crossing the boundaries of illegality:
The Gooners v That team Stanley Matthews played for at the end of his career or The Magpies from St. James' ParkDave Whelan's relegation-cheating JJB-ers v a team from West London that call themselves The BluesThe team that used to be supported by Eric Morecambe or Rafa's Rotating Reds v A club that went from the Fourth Division to the First almost as quickly as they went from the First Divison to the Fourth or Yet another non-league team that were formed as a result of a merger of two local sides that haven't reached this round beforeRonaldo & Co v Ossie's Army or Steve Coppell's blue-and-white-armyPompey v The only team you know in English football that wears green shirtsThe club that thinks it can sue its way out of trouble v The team that gave them such an inferiority complex by signing a couple of Argentinean stooges who inadvertantly caught the wrong train and ended up in East London or Manchester City. (Bugger...)

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