One consequence about dropping down to League One is having to enter the FA Cup at the first round rather than the third round, but there is a very small chance Bolton Wanderers could end up entering three weeks later, at the second round stage of the competition.
The sad demise of Bury posed a structural problem with the competition this season – normally the 48 clubs from Leagues One and Two would join 32 non-league qualifiers. But rather than the usual 80 teams, there would only be the 79 this time around. Earlier today, it was revealed what the FA will do to correct this – the 79th and final ball out of the bag on Monday’s draw will simply be given a bye to the second round. Pretty simple. Presumably, this means the team (be it us or someone else) will get the money they would normally receive for winning a first round tie – although it would mean a loss of gate receipts, plus any potential windfall that would come from a televised game.
Talk about luck of the draw – 1 club will receive a bye into the 2nd round of the FA Cup this season.
FA yet to announce restructuring after Bury were expelled but the last team to be drawn out in Monday’s draw for the first round proper will receive a bye. @BBCSport
— Ian Dennis (@Iandennisbbc) October 16, 2019
It would also mean another week without a game, for us that would mean a two week gap between home games with Fleetwood and MK Dons.
Another option the FA might have had would be to draw a lucky loser, so one of the teams that would lose in the fourth qualifying round would still go through. That plan falls apart however with the replay situation, would you only include teams that lost the original tie in that draw, or do you cancel the need for a replay?
The FA have probably made the smart decision here. A smarter decision from all involved would have been to not create the conditions that led to Bury not being in the hat at all, but it’s a bit late for that.