Barry Hearn: 'Chance in a lifetime for Gloucester City fans'
COLOURFUL kingpin of sports promotion and Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has urged Gloucester City fans not to miss out on Sunday's exciting chapter in their history.
Mr Hearn, who is missing the first round tie due to work commitments in Los Angeles, said the competition is a rare opportunity for smaller clubs to experience a taste of the big time.
This weekend's ties will be the first time all three Gloucestershire clubs have appeared in the first round. Cheltenham Town come up against Yate Town on Saturday, while Forest Green Rovers take on in-form League Two side Port Vale.
But it is the Tigers' clash with Orient that has caught the eye. And Hearn is urging fans not to miss out.
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"I can understand what the FA Cup means to clubs like Gloucester City, it is massive for smaller clubs," he said.
"What I would say to all the fans is, will this ever happen again? Giant killing stories run riot through the history of the FA Cup and we are expecting a good scrap with the Gloucester City players.
"If you weren't there how could you live with yourself if you missed out on getting a taste of the big time?
"It is not about Gloucester City fans wanting to go, they have to go. This is what football is all about, seeing little clubs like Gloucester fighting for survival.
"Gloucester City has already won prize money getting to this stage on the competition. It is a shame we are not on national TV. Just after the draw I texted the head of ITV Sport saying, 'wow this game should be on TV', it's a shame it is not happening but it will be shown around the world.
"If I was the chairman of Gloucester City, I would be so excited I would not be able to speak to anybody, that is what football means to people. All Gloucester City fans should go to enjoy a totally unique experience - no one should miss it as it may not happen again."
The Tigers kick-off against Leyton Orient at Whaddon Road in Cheltenham at 3pm on Sunday, November 4.