Shrewsbury Town travel to Liverpool tonight for their fourth-round FA Cup replay at Anfield, and despite the controversy surrounding the Premier League club’s attitude to the tie, Salop have sold out their entire allocation for the match.
Immediately after the first game, which ended 2-2 at the New Meadow, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said the Merseyside giants would field a team without any of his first-team squad for the replay. Indeed, Klopp himself will not be at Anfield, leaving Under-23 boss Neil Critchley to take the match.
His stance caused much debate in the media, and according to Salop boss Sam Ricketts, the lack of live TV coverage has probably cost his club a massive £500,000 in lost revenue.
Nonetheless, when Ricketts players emerge from the tunnel under the famous ‘This is Anfield’ sign they will be cheered on by 8,000 fans in blue and amber, gripped by cup fever in the Anfield Road End.
The news that Shrewsbury had sold out was greeted with enthusiasm by fans excited to see their League One team at one of the country’s most historic and famous grounds.
However, as is always the case when a lower league club takes a large following to a cup tie, plenty of fans were ready to label the supporters plastic and asked the question, ‘where are all these fans for a league match?’ Shrewsbury average around 6,000 for home games.
While the debates around the fixture continue, it will mean nothing to those fans with a ticket and making the trip. Replays matter, not just for the money but for giving many lower-league fans the football supporting trip of a lifetime. What is football without glory?
Here is a selection of responses to the news the away end will be a sell-out.
Blue & amber invasion! #salop ????
— DPM Steve (@Dashwoodpm) February 3, 2020
— Lauren Edwards (@lauren_stfc) February 3, 2020
Will be great to see 8000 salopians cant wait ?????
— Andy Lewis ??????? (@alewis36) February 3, 2020
Yeah but they’d be called plastics? as we’re constantly told.
— Luke Hendry (@farmerluke) February 4, 2020
It’s a strange idea I know but individuals can pick and choose the games they go to and this doesn’t make them inferior in any way. Loyaopoint snobbery seems it all now
— adrian bailey (@adrianb15628729) February 3, 2020
And who says replays don't do any good?
— Sam Nicklin (@samnick02) February 3, 2020
You know how exciting a cup run is for lower league teams like you and us mon?
— shroppiemon (@shroppiemon) February 3, 2020
Ay ay ay…. Calm down, calm down ??
— Andy Hamilton (@Floreat54l0P14) February 3, 2020
— Paul Turner (@pturner3837) February 4, 2020