IN the final article this week featuring Midland Football League clubs past or present in the FA Cup, we speak to league chairman and Chasetown FC president Michael Joiner about the first time FA Cup fever hit the club.
Mick Joiner says his claim to fame is being featured live on Match of The Day - for around 30 seconds.
The occasion? The 2005-06 FA Cup tie between Chasetown and Oldham Athletic which was broadcast live on said BBC programme.
Mick, then the chairman and now president of Chasetown is also chairman of the Midland Football League. In that season Chasetown competed in - and won - the league's forerunner, the Midland Football Alliance.
The FA Cup run was a pivotal moment in Chasetown's history and came not with little effort to reach that stage. The Scholars had already played eight games including replays and as a result were getting way behind with the league programme.
They faced a race against time to get the ground up to standard, not just because it was going to be featured on television, but because they were in the first round proper and facing a league club, both of which brings its own requirements from the authorities.
Indeed, even hosting a national and regional media presence rather than the usual local paper would prove problematic, and a whole new caravan type had to be brought in to deal with the demands.
Extra seating, securing the perimeter fencing and player's tunnel, big demands on catering on and off the pitch, plus any number of compliance issues required by the FA, police and local authority were all on the agenda.
Mick said: "It was a wonderful occasion and the club benefited to a massive degree both that season and subsequent ones in term of profile, numbers through the gate and just general interest.
"But when you get through to that stage - and we had to beat Blyth Spartans over two games to get there which was no mean feat - it is a whole new world for a part time club run by a committee and volunteers, even for an ambitious one.
"It was all hands to the pump to make sure we could stage the game and that was probably before the considerations of live television and radio coverage.
"Things come out of the woodwork or in the post that you had no idea you would have to address."Safeguarding issues, building temporary seating or stands, providing a press area and access for TV vans, not to mention an explosion in the amount of hospitality provided - the phone calls were none stop.
"There was also the money issue as we had to decide how gate receipts were divided between the two teams, taking into account the expenses which had to be paid for before either club made anything."
Chasetown received £75,000 in television money and both teams shared £18,000 for the game being broadcast on Five Live radio but very little of it went into the playing budget and Chasetown again found themselves up against it in the league when the initial game was a 1-1 draw.
"That meant another replay," said Mick, "And by the time the cup run was over we found ourselves playing catch up to the tune of nine games, with the main focus at the start of the season having been the league.
Chasetown lost the replay 4-0 but went on to win the Midland Alliance with a 2-0 victory over Romulus on the final day of the season, when the BBC revisited The Scholars to do a piece on them.
Mick said: "It was a wonderful day playing Oldham and having our day in the spotlight, and I always say I got my 30 seconds of fame being interviewed on the television at half time.
"It was to be repeated possibly even more famously two seasons later when we got to the third round and played Cardiff and possibly we were more prepared for the Cardiff game having had a taste of it.
"But to be a Midland Alliance club who up until then had played in front of an average gate of 100 to being featured live on national television for the first time was not only a memorable day but also at the time a daunting one.
"We made some money out of it yes although not as much as people thought because of the work that had to be done, but it did provide a base for us to continue to improve the ground and the club - it certainly didn't go straight into the playing budget.
"It's a cliche and it has been repeated many times possibly but it just shows what power the FA Cup can have in providing a means to progress on and off the field."
Clockwise from top: The Scholars with temporary stand in place; Action from Chasetown v Oldham; Mick Joiner with his Chasetown scarf and the matchday programme from the home game.
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