Shaymen start planning in earnest for FA Cup tie to savour

Halifax Town v Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup first round in 2011.
Halifax Town v Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup first round in 2011.
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The name of Bradford City may have been ‘trending’ among FC Halifax Town fans from shortly after 7pm on Monday, but for David Bosomworth, it was strictly off limits.

Publicly at least....

From the moment the glamour FA Cup tie was made, live on BBC TV, the Shaymen chairman fielded a deluge of enquiries from ecstatic supporters about the mouth-watering first-round assignment, with most getting ahead of themselves and taking the derby date as read. And forgetting one crucial thing.

Namely that there was the not inconsequential matter of Tuesday night’s fourth qualifying round replay with Chorley to negotiate first, something Bosomworth knew full well.

It was only when Adam Smith put Halifax 3-0 up just after half-time in an evenutal 5-0 Shay win that Bosomworth started finally to mutter the ‘banned’ word – Bradford, a club where he was formerly a director.

On the importance of the club not getting carried away following Monday’s draw which potentially pitted the West Yorkshire neighbours into a FA Cup competition for the first time, Bosomworth said: “That was the most difficult thing really because we had fans saying: ‘Can we book a table?’ and ‘Can we book an executive box?’ and do this and that.

“I just said: ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ Then people look at you and think you are daft in one respect.

“But we just did not want to focus beyond the Chorley game; it’s the old adage of one game at a time as the replay could have been a banana skin for us.

“Although I did get a text from Julian (Rhodes – Bradford joint chairman) saying: ‘You better go win it!”

With a home tie with the Bantams – whose last visit to The Shay was for a League Cup tie watched by 5,714 people in September 1998 – now safely in the bag, Bosomworth has turned his thoughts in earnest towards the encounter after admitting that Monday’s draw was the stuff that dreams were made of.

Bosomworth and director Bobby Ham have close connections to Bradford, with Shaymen players Matt Glennon, Steve Williams and Simon Ainge all former City players, along with physio Jon Worthington.

And the tie has captured the imagination of the Halifax sporting public.

A bumper crowd, with or without the presence of TV cameras screening the game live, is guaranteed, with the attendance likely to be the Shaymen’s biggest for many a year and comfortably the largest since the club’s rebirth.

Bosomworth admits another spot in the TV limelight – with clubs who host live first-round ties receiving £67,500 last season – would not go amiss either after the round one clash with Charlton was screened live on ITV in November 2011.

He said: “I hope they do show it as they would miss a trick if they didn’t. It will be a David versus Goliath and a good game.

“Hopefully we will have our record crowd and perhaps we can go one step further than we did against Charlton Athletic.

“Obviously, they had the Rugby League World Cup here and a crowd of 10,000 in for that (Italy v Tonga in November 2013).

“In soccer terms, I think our top gate was 4,600 against Charlton and that was because it was live on a Sunday at 12 o’clock. Having said that, we would take that time again if it was on TV!

“For Halifax and the fans and what they have gone through, particularly going back to 
2008-09 and come up as a phoenix club, it is a fantastic tie.”