Millions of football fans know Martin Tyler’s voice.But by 16:50 BST on Saturday, the legendary television commentator could find himself in the first round of the FA Cup in a much different capacity.That’s because the 72-year-old, who has spent years describing countless Premier League matches for Sky Sports, as well as World Cup, European Championship and Champions League finals for a variety of other broadcasters, is first-team coach at Hampton & Richmond Borough.
The sixth-tier part-timers host National League South rivals Truro City (15:00 BST) in one of 32 fourth qualifying round ties this weekend – the winners joining clubs from League One and League Two in Monday’s first-round draw.”Everybody in non-league has another job. It’s just that everyone knows what mine is,” Tyler, who has commentated on 20-plus FA Cup finals in his career, told BBC Sport.BBC to show St Albans v Boreham WoodFA Cup fourth qualifying fixturesFA Cup qualifying resultsFrom big lump to FA Cup finals on team coachTyler’s passion for the non-league football scene is deep rooted.He supports National League Woking and played as a striker for Tolworth-based Corinthian-Casuals, who are currently in the Isthmian League South Division.”I was a big lump up front. You had to sign a form to play in the FA Cup and it was always a thrill when I was handed one because not every player received the form,” added Tyler. “I played in the early qualifying rounds but I never managed to make it to the first round proper.”Little did he know then that he would soon be making regular appearances of his own at Wembley finals.
“Early in my broadcasting career I have wonderful memories of interviewing players and managers when television cameras were allowed on board the team coach going to FA Cup finals” he said.”I’ve rarely missed a final since 1974. It did happen in 2011 because the final between Manchester City and Stoke was on the same day Manchester United won the Premier League at Blackburn. I was at Ewood Park.”‘I’m old enough to be their grandad’Hampton & Richmond Borough – nicknamed the Beavers and based five miles from Twickenham Stadium – were in the seventh-tier Isthmian League Premier Division and fresh from an FA Cup first qualifying round defeat by Vickers, Crayford & Dartford Athletic when Alan Dowson was appointed manager in September 2014. Tyler had been part of Dowson’s backroom team at two previous clubs – Kingstonian, and Walton and Hersham – so it was no surprise the pair teamed up at the Beveree Stadium.Dowson, a former Millwall and Bradford City defender, won promotion in his first full season in charge, while the Beavers reached the National League South play-offs in 2016-17.
“Dowse used to coach my son Adam’s Sunday League team – Cobham Boys – and I used to help him put the cones out,” added Tyler.”He got the manager’s job at Walton and Hersham and he asked me to come and help. I thought he meant as a press officer but he said come and coach. I loved being back in the dressing room.”I wanted to be a footballer, I never had any intentions of becoming a coach. I’m really there to put the balls, bibs and cones out, fill the water bottles.”The players are great, I’m old enough to be their grandad but I don’t feel my age. I can’t run anymore but I make them run.”‘You should have stayed on the telly’
Sir Alex Ferguson was 71 when he retired as Manchester United’s manager. Yet Tyler, one year older than Ferguson was when the Scot stepped down in 2013, has no plans to pack in broadcasting or coaching. His energy comes from the players around him as well as humour from opposition fans when Hampton and Richmond Borough play away at the likes of Gloucester City, Hemel Hempstead Town and East Thurrock United.FA Cup qualifying in numbers175,000 – number of fans who have watched the first five qualifying rounds of this season’s FA Cup.3,034 – biggest gate so far in this season’s FA Cup for Stockport County’s third qualifying round tie home tie against FC United of Manchester.£1.99m – total prize money paid to non-league teams in six qualifying rounds.32 – number of non-league clubs guaranteed a place in the FA Cup first round.”Every now and again I get ‘you should have stayed on the telly’ shouted at me,” he said.”Nobody has said to me I’m too old for it. I’m sure that day will come. Someone will retire me from broadcasting and someone will retire me from coaching. But as long as I can contribute, I will carry on.” Missing out due to Liverpool v Man UtdTen years ago Alan Devonshire, an FA Cup winner with West Ham United in 1980, steered the Beavers to the first round where they were beaten 3-0 at home by Dagenham & Redbridge, then a League Two club, in front of 2,252 at the Beveree Stadium. It was only the second time in Hampton & Richmond Borough’s 96-year history they had emerged from the qualifying rounds.With a potential money-spinning tie against a Football League club on offer, club officials hope for a crowd in excess of their current 441 league average for the visit of Truro.However, there will be one familiar face absent in the dug-out. Tyler will be 220 miles away commentating on the 12:30 BST Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester United when the balls, bibs and cones are put out at the 3,500-capacity Beveree Stadium.Furthest a non-League team has gone in the FA Cup in recent seasons2016-17: Lincoln City (quarter-finals)2015-16: Eastleigh (third round)2014-15: Blyth Spartans, Dover Athletic, Gateshead, Southport, Wrexham (third round)2013-14: Kidderminster Harriers (fourth round)2012-13: Luton Town (fifth round)”Broadcasting is my number one job,” he said. “I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t doing Liverpool against Manchester United.”I’m a commentator first and foremost who helps out at Hampton & Richmond Borough when I’m not commentating.”I’ll be on the train back home when the match is going on. “The guy who does the club updates on Twitter is away celebrating his wedding anniversary this weekend so I’ll wait for a call from Dowse to find out the result.”From the Hornets to the Beavers Goalkeeper Sam Howes, signed by Watford from West Ham United in July, is set to play in the tie after joining Hampton & Richmond Borough on loan.However, striker Bradley Hudson-Odoi, who made a substitute appearance in Sutton United’s 2-0 FA Cup fifth round defeat by Arsenal last season, is ineligible as Sutton do not want him to be cup tied.Spot of botherOn 22 March, 2016, Hampton & Richmond Borough took on Cockfosters FC at home in a Middlesex FA Charity Cup match. The final score at the end of 90 minutes was 1-1 and the tie was decided by a penalty shootout. After 42 kicks were taken in total (21 each), Courtney Lawrence beat Beavers keeper Adrian Blake as Cockfosters advanced 18-17 on penalties.Tyler was in the dugout when Hampton & Richmond, 17th in National League South, drew 1-1 in a league game at third-placed Truro last Saturday.”We’re unbeaten in our last seven league games but the last six have been draws – so don’t rule out a replay in Cornwall,” he said.When is the FA Cup first round draw?
BBC to broadcast St Albans v Boreham Wood derbyThe BBC will broadcast Saturday’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie between St Albans City and Boreham Wood.The Hertfordshire derby, to be played at St Albans’ Clarence Park, will kick off at 12:30 BST.St Albans play in the sixth tier of English football, while Boreham Wood are in the fifth tier.Audiences will be able to watch the game live on PC, mobile or connected TV. Matches will also be available live and on demand on BBC iPlayer.
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