13 November ~ When FC Halifax Town were drawn against Charlton Athletic in the first round of the FA Cup, it was another milestone for the club formed in the summer of 2008, following the demise of the old Halifax Town. Just to hear the club's name in a national draw again felt good. Considering the many far less appealing options (I winced and said a quick prayer as home teams such as Luton, Hartlepool and Exeter were pulled out of the bag), Charlton will do nicely. A home draw against opponents who were in the Premier League only four years ago has a real appeal to it. Town boss Neil Aspin described it as "a fantastic tie" and ITV seemed to agree, with live coverage today.
We can say with a fair degree of certainty that, after today's game, we'll be able to concentrate on a league campaign that is just starting to show promise, but not before pocketing a tidy sum. Hopefully the money will help to finance a push for a third successive promotion and a return to the Blue Square Premier.
It's good that a nationwide TV audience will be able to see a ground which, following years of delay and uncertainty, is now fully completed and a source of pride. Any supporters who haven't been to The Shay since the dark and dismal days of the old fourth division, when they might have stood on the shabby cinder banking that constituted one end, will barely recognise the place.
My only concern is the possibility of a real thrashing. Charlton are the highest-ranked team in the competition at this stage and I wonder how our part-time players will cope with the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Johnnie Jackson. In contrast with their enviable resources, our own attack is likely to be significantly depleted. Our rampaging centre-forward, James Dean, is currently serving a lengthy suspension. Top scorer Lee Gregory is battling to be fit following a hamstring injury. And our outstanding winger of last season, Jamie Vardy, departed weeks ago for the bright lights of Fleetwood. Nevertheless, it should still be a great day, certainly the biggest in the short life of the new club. Charlie Adamson