Aug
23
2007
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FA Cup Draw

FA Cup Draw 1964
Diameter 3 cm
Weight 10 g

In the early days, number scraps of paper were pulled out of a top had behind closed doors, whilst invited members of the press, and seemingly every other staff member at the Football Assotiation, waited eagerly in the corridor to hear the outcome.
Then in 1935 the BBC decided to broadcast the 3rd Round draw, the stage of the tournament at which the ‘big boys’join the ‘minnows’.
FA Secretary Stanley Rous was requested ‘to produce a distinctive sound’ for listeners. Polished hardwood balls being shaken in a velvet bag made just such a sound. Subtle, but tantalising.
The BBC hedget its bets. ‘This broadcast is an experiment’, it emphasised.
But the experiment ran for 50 years, bringing to a half factories and offices at shortly after midday on the second or third Monday of every December. Under desks and in toilet cubicles schoolboys across the nation huddled around transistors radios.
For the 4th Round draw in January 1964 the plum tie was an East End derby, Leyton Orient v. West HAm, the eventual winners.
More recently nylon balls in a glass bowl have taken over, and the draw is televised at weekends. But the old balls, 128 in total, and their bag, dating from the 1970s, are still in regular use for the seven other FA competitions drawn in private.
And they still make that delicious clacking sound that once set a million hearts racing.