Newcastle United's glittering array of players, who are used to playing in front of 50,000 at St James' Park, will find out today if they have to pitch up at the home of Yeading - capacity 3,000 - for their third round FA Cup tie. The Ryman Premier League side initially wanted to switch next month's tie to the home of their Premiership opponents, but are now keen to host the tie.
The match, to be played on the second weekend in 2005, will be at The Warren unless the Football Association is forced to switch the tie on grounds of safety. There were suggestions that the tie could be moved to the west London club's neighbours, Brentford or Queen's Park Rangers. But given that each club must meet requirements to enter the competition, it seems unlikely the tie will be switched.
"The only reason for a tie to be switched is on grounds of safety and security," an FA spokesman said, "and that would follow a meeting between the club, the local authority and the police three days after the draw. Even if it was decided to move the tie it would be a nearby ground, subject to FA approval."
Farnborough were criticised for moving their tie with Arsenal to Highbury two seasons ago. Romance and the chance of a giant-killing had been shunned in favour of a fatter pay packet, it was argued. Bill Gritt, the Yeading secretary, said that he and his chairman, Phillip Spurden, had allowed the excitement of the draw to pass before deciding whether they wanted to host the tie. "We are going to look at the feasibility of staging the game - subject to the local authority, police and all other parties concerned," Gritt said.
"Now we've settled down we're going to look at getting them [Newcastle] down at The Warren and see where we go from there. We've had 4,000 there. But I think it's about 3,000 to 3,500 capacity with 250 seats, but we can pull in some portable seating."
If Yeading needed extra motivation for such a tie it has been provided by recent derogatory comments by the Newcastle chairman, Freddy Shepherd, about lower league football. "We will certainly give it a go and show Mr Shepherd some grass-roots football, which he seems to have forgotten about," Gritt said.
Yeading came from behind against Slough to reach the third round - with two goals from DJ Campbell and a strike from Davis Haule in a 3-1 win. Campbell admitted the FA Cup tie is a chance to impress potential future employers. "I just want the game to be tomorrow," Campbell said. "We'll give it our best shot. The team is quite young, and there's potential."Reuse content