Southport were finally handed the big FA Cup draw that they have been craving and with it comes national fame. Southport v Sheffield Wednesday at Haig Avenue in the 1st round of the FA Cup will be shown live on ITV1. The match has been moved from the traditional Saturday afternoon slot to Sunday lunchtime to accommodate the TV cameras.
The two sides have never met before but will fight it out in what will be Southport’s 100th FA Cup tie as a non-league side.
Southport have of course been shown live on TV before. Back in the 90s two games (home v Halifax Town, away v Runcorn) were shown live on cable TV channel Wire TV and this Friday, 29th October, Southport will face Kidderminster Harriers on Premier Sports TV (Sky Channel 433). Neither of those compare however to the potential TV audience that comes with a free-to-air terrestrial channel such as ITV1.
The last time Southport defeated a league club in the competition, it was the featured match on BBC’s Match of the Day. 3519 packed into Haig Avenue for the win against Notts County, but for the match against Wednesday it is expected to be a sell-out. Manager Liam Watson is expecting the match to bring the club a six-figure sum and it gives the club a fantastic opportunity to market themselves and build for the future.
Whilst a replay would mean additional earnings for the club, historians will be cautious of a trip to Hillsborough – the scene of a 9-0 mauling at the hands of Newcastle United in the 4th round (2nd replay) of the same competition back in February 1932.