- Eighth tier side have another crack at famous neighbours
- Capacity increased for Charlton replay
- Huge demand for tickets for South London FA Cup clash
Cray Valley Paper Mills, an eighth-tier club, has been granted an unexpected capacity increase of 1,500 for their televised FA Cup first-round replay against Charlton Athletic, a team situated five divisions above them, as they look to upset the odds.
Typically hosting around 200 fans at the Badgers Sports Ground in Eltham, the club was surprised by the higher-than-anticipated capacity but received approval from the local authority following an inspection.
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Scramble for tickets for FA Cup clash
Frank May, the club’s chairman, expressed the challenges of hosting a team from a significantly higher division and highlighted that the current stadium does not meet the criteria for promotion. However, the club sees the revenue and exposure from this FA Cup tie as a potential catalyst for their expansion and improvement plans.
Despite being unable to accommodate all 2,000 supporters who attended the away game at Charlton, May emphasised the club’s efforts to maximise attendance for the televised replay. He acknowledged the difficulties in preparing for such high-profile matches and expressed the hope that the increased revenue would contribute to the club’s development.
Charlton supporters faced a notable challenge securing tickets, with only 282 allocated for them, marking one of the club’s most significant ticket scrambles in its history. May acknowledged the international support received after the draw but emphasised the importance of consistent local support on regular Saturdays.
The chairman stated that the funds generated from these televised fixtures would be reinvested in the stadium. While the ultimate goal is promotion, May acknowledged the substantial work required to bring the ground up to the standards necessary for the next level. Despite the current challenges, he remains optimistic that exposure from high-profile matches will attract more local fans and support for Cray Valley Paper Mills.
Charlton are heavy favourites to get the job done at the second time of asking after being held to a draw at the Valley. Despite being away from home it is expected that the third tier club will make their class and experience tell. The underdog often will not get a second chance. However, for those who feel that going to a traditional non league ground will be a leveller there is good value to be found. At the time of writing, Betfred are offering 17/2 for a Cray Valley win, with Charlton 1/4 and a draw 5/1.
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