Maidstone United owner takes aim at BBC and ITV for missing FA Cup win | Football | Sport

Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash has blasted ratings-hungry TV bosses for missing the best story of the FA Cup third round. The National League South side – the lowest-ranked still in the competition – stunned League One Stevenage with a 1-0 win at their Gallagher Stadium courtesy of a Sam Corne penalty just before half-time.

It was not just that the game had been shunned by the BBC and ITV as one of their 16 live TV picks. Only three main cameras – two on the gantry over the half-way line and another at one of the ends – were there to record the Kent club’s moment of history when it was eventually broadcast as the opening game on Match of the Day.

Being chosen as a main terrestrial TV game is worth £85,000 apiece to the clubs involved. However, instead of handing that cash lifeline to some of the competition minnows, TV execs chose to cover the games involving over half of the clubs in the Premier League.

Wigan were the only club featured outside the Championship and that was because they were playing against ratings magnets Manchester United. “Most people are amazed the cameras are not here,” Ash said.

“I get that more people support Everton and Crystal Palace so the TV companies think they will get more viewers than Maidstone. But it is a shame because the competition is all about game like ours – the lowest-ranked club in the competition against a side that could well be in the Championship next year.

“It would have been wonderful TV. It is all about the magic of the FA Cup – it is so wonderful for the spirit of the club, the community and the town.

“Definitely this is the biggest result in the club’s history. We are not going to win it, but more and the more the FA Cup is something magic for clubs like ours. It may have lost its magic for the top clubs but it has gained its magic for us.

Undoubtedly, Maidstone’s number will be one to watch for in the draw ahead of the Wigan game against United and Ash will be keeping his fingers crossed for another chapter of the fairytale rather than a giant pay-day.

“I want a home tie,” he said. “Having seen what it means to people to come and watch a big game here, it would be magic – even compared to a trip to one of the big clubs. So let’s get Manchester City down to the Gallagher!”

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