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Tuesday 28 October 2008
What's Happening At Kingsmeadow ('WHAK')

The most important target for the club this season is to gain promotion to the Blue Square Premier. At the same time, we are treading in exciting new territory, since we’ve not had an FA Cup first round proper game at Kingsmeadow before. As a result, we thought we’d temporarily resurrect ‘WHAK’, and then follow today’s feature with intermittent news or feature updates on the build up to the top-of-the-table clash at Chelmsford this Saturday, followed by our FA Cup first round tie on Monday 10 November.

Terry Brown’s job this week is to keep the players focused on the top-of-the-table league clash against Chelmsford this Saturday and not to let their minds drift off to the FA Cup and TV glory. Stuart Cash accompanied Terry to watch Chelmsford’s unexpected draw at home to Bishop’s Stortford last night, where Chelmsford’s pattern of play was disrupted by an early sending off.

Even though Chelmsford are one of the teams we know best in this league, they made a number of significant signings during the summer, so Terry and Stuart wanted to catch up on how the new players are fitting in, the formation they are playing, and their current form. The feedback from this visit will form the basis of Thursday night’s training session, which will be focusing on the pattern of play the Dons will use for the game.

There will be more about that game later this week in the ‘news’ section of this site. We also hope to broadcast a Podcast at the end of the week, covering the Chelmsford game, the FA Cup and an update from Lewis Taylor about his progress in recovering from a serious injury.

Turning to the FA Cup, while some fans said we shouldn’t be anticipating the result of the Maidstone game, we felt we had to start planning for the possibility of a home FA Cup first round game some time ago. We thought that if we got a tie against a Football League team we would be in the running for a televised game, so we arranged for our floodlights to be serviced two weeks ago. At the same time, we asked the service team what lux rating the lights were capable of providing (i.e. how bright are they), while discreetly enquiring about what rating was needed for a TV game.

So, when we received an enquiry early on Monday about our lux rating (which was as good a hint as you could get that a TV game was on the cards) we had already covered that part of the preparation. The lights are being tested tonight, to make sure that they meet the standards required for a TV broadcast.

Before the fourth qualifying round ties were played, all the teams left in the competition received an email from the FA saying that, if a non-league team won and then got a home game against a league team in the First Round proper, they would be required to hold a safety meeting with an FA representative, the police and a safety representative from the council. By Sunday night David Charles had arranged the meeting; the earliest we can all get together is Wednesday, which is why we won’t be announcing ticket arrangements before then.

On that subject, we are considering printing tickets specifically for the game, to help us to manage the crowds in the various sectors of the ground. We have also decided in principle (subject to the safety meeting tomorrow) that we will make the game our first all-ticket match.

On Friday, Setanta are coming to Kingsmeadow to check out the arrangements, which presumably includes where they will put their trucks, use of our gantry etc. And we’ve given the go-ahead to a camera in the dressing room and pitch-side interviews at key stages of the game.

David Charles has had several discussions with his counterpart, Keith Allen, at Wycombe Wanderers, provisionally agreeing the number of tickets they will have. The rules say that we must give Wycombe 15% of the accommodation, although there is nothing about including any seats. However, we will probably allocate some seats to Wycombe, in much the same way as opposition clubs set aside some for our fans who are older or infirm and wouldn’t be able to see the game if they couldn’t sit.

The media’s attention is on the game and Terry Brown has already been interviewed about our progress in the FA Cup by FiveLive and TalkSport, while Erik Samuelson was on BBC Radio London last night, along with Wycombe manager Peter Taylor.

With no Premier or Football league fixtures on the night of our FA Cup tie, we expect significant media interest and are making plans to accommodate the press. No doubt there will also be lots of requests for complimentary tickets from other clubs’ scouts and managers, as well as other worthy luminaries, so we are taking steps to keep the numbers to sensible levels; there were 22 scouts at the Dover replay, which is more than we can or will accommodate for the Wycombe Wanderers game.

We aim to publish the ticketing arrangements for the FA Cup tie on the club’s web site on Wednesday afternoon - watch out for them.