Lewis Thorogood. Photo by ADRIAN SMITH.

Get the fans back in for the FA Cup season opener

The competitive season for Spalding, Holbeach and Pinchbeck will officially start on Tuesday, September 1 in the FA Cup though it looks likely to be behind closed doors.

That’s much to the annoyance of Spalding United manager Lewis Thorogood who is on the committee working to start the Northern Premier League Division One South East season on September 19.

All three Uniteds have been confirmed as being in the cup’s Extra Preliminary Round which starts then, ahead of their respective league seasons getting underway.

The draw for the competition will take place on Tuesday, August 18.

It comes as football returned to South Holland this weekend with pre-season friendlies held behind closed doors.

They included Spalding United hosting Peterborough Sports at a fan-less Sir Halley Stewart during which The Tulips lost 3-0.

Thorogood said it was ‘strange’ without the fans and had previously hoped fans may be allowed into Spalding’s final pre-season friendly later this month.

But last week the government announced it was stopping the trials it had announced to allow fans into other sporting events.

Thorogood said: “The FA Cup Extra Preliminary would be the perfect time to trial it.

“It’s a Tuesday night and the night before kids go back to school so it’s not going to be big crowds.

“There might be the odd step five club who can get 200 plus and I don’t know why they can’t let us in.

“It really riles me and I think the government have got it wrong.

“They were on about trialing crowds with 4,000 at Goodwood, why not 125 at Deeping Rangers or so?

“I guarantee that people would have been safer watching us at the Sir Halley on Saturday than they would in the town centre.

“Why can’t people be socially distant in our ground and wearing masks when not eating or drinking when they can be in a pub or shop?”

“Credit to the FA and the league because it’s something they have been pushing for.”

“Come Saturday we’ll only have three weeks until that FA Cup tie so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready.”

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