The 2020-21 FA Cup will be the 140th running of the competition, but only the 56th to contain an Extra Preliminary Round.
The last time the FA Cup officially began on 1st September was in 1945-46, the first season after the last enforced break from football. There were just four Extra Preliminary Round matches that season.
30 – The number of days between the 2019-20 FA Cup Final and the 2020-21 competition starting, the shortest period ever between one season and the next. There is actually one match on 31st August (Woodford Town vs London Colney) so technically two season’s FA Cup competitions will have happened in the same month.
20 – The number of clubs competing in the FA Cup for the first time in 2020-21 season – the oldest are Southern Counties East League side Kennington and Long Crendon from the Hellenic League (both formed in 1885/86 season) and the youngest is Essex Senior League club Hashtag United (formed in 2016).
There will be at least three debutant clubs in the Preliminary Round as Northwest Counties League sides Wythenshawe Amateurs and Shelley Community go face to face, Spartan South Midlands club Park View host aforementioned Hashtag United, and Billingshurst of the Southern Combination League take on Westside of the Combined Counties League.
Essex Senior League club Clapton will be competing in the FA Cup for the 125th time (they first entered the competition in 1879/80) whilst both Desborough Town of the United Counties League and Northern League club Penrith make it a century of FA Cup campaigns this year.
56 – Southwest Peninsula League club Newton Abbot Spurs return to the FA Cup after an absence of 56 years. Their one and only FA Cup win so far occurred 73 years ago, a 2-1 win over a club called Oak Villa.
16 – There are 16 clubs from Step 4 in the pyramid involved in the Extra Preliminary Round. Of those 16 clubs Isthmian League side AFC Sudbury have never been knocked out of the FA Cup as early as the EP Round. Their tie at FA Cup debutants Burton Park Wanderers of the United Counties League will be shown ‘live’ by the BBC who will be hoping to witness a giant-killing by the Step 6 side.
Just 47 of the Extra Preliminary Round ties (25%) involve two clubs who will also face each other in League action this season. And just 39 ties involve clubs who’ve met each other in the competition before. These two stats belie the theory that clubs meet the same and familiar opponents each year.
3 – The most common tie of the Extra Preliminary is Southern League side Basingstoke Town versus Bournemouth (Amateurs) of the Wessex League who have only 3 previous FA Cup encounters, with Basingstoke ahead by two wins to one.
Northwest Counties League rivals Congleton Town and Burscough have been drawn together in the FA Cup for the 2nd time, but back in 1994/95 it took 4 games and 450 minutes before Congleton eventually won through. No chance of a repeat of that this season as replays have temporarily been scrapped.
Midland Football League club Worcester City have defeated their opponents this year, Rugby Town of the United Counties League, on both previous occasions they’ve met in the competition. Worcester also beat the original Rugby Town club the only time those two met in the FA Cup.
4 – Four clubs have a chance of avenging defeat in the FA Cup last season: Holmer Green lost to fellow Hellenic League side Shrivenham on penalties; Northern Counties East League club Penistone Church were heavily beaten in a replay against Skelmersdale United of the Northwest Counties League; Racing Club Warwick lost to fellow Midland Football League side AFC Wulfrunians; and Oadby Town were beaten by United Counties League rivals Leicester Nirvana.
51 – Of the clubs competing in the Extra Preliminary Round, 51 have previously participated in the 1st Round ‘Proper’ or beyond, two of which, Northwich Victoria and Chatham Town, actually have appeared in a Quarter Final before, albeit both in the 19th Century.
19 – Aside from those clubs making their FA Cup debut, there are 19 other clubs who have yet to win an FA Cup tie. Of those clubs, Fawley has had the most campaigns with six. None of these clubs are drawn together so all 19 could remain winless after this season.
11 – There will be at least 11 Step 6 clubs in the Preliminary Round, with 52 others hoping to cause a Cupset.
The winner of the tie between Litherland REMYCA and Ashton Athletic will progress 2 rounds to the 1st Qualifying Round having been drawn to face Droylsden in the Preliminary Round who have withdrawn from the competition.
The tie with the shortest combined names is an all Northwest Counties League affair between Avro and Bootle whilst the longest named pairing sees Hellenic League side Royal Wootton Bassett Town host Chipping Sodbury Town of the West League.