Linnets in Cup draw fiasco

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:46 14 September 2010

King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins is demanding a FA inquiry after the club was embroiled in FA Cup first round farce. Tommy Taylor's side featured twice in Saturday's live televised draw having knocked out Hucknall Town 3-0 at The Walks to reach that stage for the first time since 1997.

King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins is demanding a FA inquiry after the club was embroiled in an FA Cup draw farce.

Tommy Taylor's side featured twice in Saturday's live televised draw for the first round proper after beating Hucknall 3-0 at The Walks to reach that stage for the first time since 1997.

Lynn initially landed a home tie against Conference South club Lewes in the draw at FA headquarters, overseen by Sir Trevor Brooking and performed by England rugby World Cup winners Neil Back and Will Greenwood.

The Linnets then re-appeared nine ties later, away at either Dover Athletic or Bishop's Stortford.

Lynn officials held talks with FA representatives within minutes of the embarrassing gaffe before confirming the club will travel to the winners of tomorrow's replay on Saturday, November 11.

Brooking was reported yesterday to have admitted mistakenly calling out King's Lynn's ball, number 53, twice.

An FA spokesman acknowledged the error - but reiterated Lynn have no right of appeal.

"It's disgraceful - scandalous," said Bobbins. "We will send an official letter of protest to the FA immediately making our views known. The club is determined to seek proper clarification for what's in effect a cock-up. I've been listening to FA Cup draws for 45-odd years and never witnessed such an error.

"I don't for one minute expect to overturn the FA decision. We won't bleat about it - but in my opinion we shouldn't let it lie. The FA very matter-of-factly said they had seen the incident and we have no right of appeal. Our number was clearly called out first - now they say it was a mistake.

"We've been informed there were three independent adjudicators present at the draw. Why was it not halted immediately to avoid such confusion - both for King's Lynn's sake and a number of other affected clubs? To get a home tie and suddenly find we are away is a kick in the teeth."

Linnets' cup secretary Martin Davis revealed FA head of competitions Steve Clark had attributed the error to a 'reversal of figures'.

"I was told the number given out was in effect 52 - not 53," said Davis. "In other words it was read out incorrectly. The second 53 in the draw was indeed our number and I saw that myself. There wasn't two 53s in the machine - it was simply misreported.

"In my long experience I never seen anything like it. We've had the odd redraw or two at eastern counties level in the past. I remember Jimmy Hill dropped one of the balls many years ago and they've had instances with using an odd numbers of balls, but nothing on this scale.

"The FA man was apologetic although he confirmed there was no appeals process. Potentially this could cost the club a lot of money."

Lynn's original opponents, Lewes, stand to net a possible £60,000 television windfall after it was confirmed they would host football league club Darlington in the first round proper.

"I'd like someone to explain how Lewes can go from an away tie to playing at home," said Bobbins. "I believe we stood a strong chance of landing a live televised game if we'd drawn a league club at home - given we had won more matches than anyone else left in the competition at this stage.

"Such a large of amount of money from a televised tie would've set us up nicely for the rest of this season.

"Aside from that issue we've lost a lucrative home match and the not inconsiderable advantage of playing the game in front of our own supporters."

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