Manchester City travel to Newport on Saturday for the sort of FA Cup tie that gets traditionalists purring.
The Premier League leaders will have to rough it on the unpredictable Rodney Parade surface, and their millionaire stars must make do with the rather basic away changing rooms.
Here, Football Paradise takes a look at the chasm which separates these two clubs in the modern age.
Some 82 places separate the Premier League leaders and Newport, who sit 15th in Sky Bet League Two going into the weekend. The highest Newport have ever risen was to the old Second Division, which meant they were briefly in the same division as Manchester City. Though technically they were in the division from 1940 to 1947, World War II meant they played only one full season, with Newport losing 5-1 away and 3-0 at home in their two meetings with City.
FA Cup pedigree
Newport have gained a well-deserved reputation as giant-killers in recent years given their high-profile victories over Leicester, Leeds and Middlesbrough, and they almost added Tottenham to the list before Harry Kane’s late equaliser denied them last season. But this fifth-round appearance matches their best ever run, last achieved in 1948-49 when they lost to Portsmouth at this stage. City, in contrast, are five-time winners of the cup, but despite the transformation in their fortunes they have lifted it only once – in 2011 – during the Sheikh Mansour era.
The total transfer value of Newport’s side is in the region of £50,000, which might not even cover the matchday bonuses of City. A chunk of that sum was spent on record signing Joe Day, with the goalkeeper costing in the region of £30,000 when he signed from Peterborough. Contrast that with the £35million City spent on their own stopper Ederson – then a record for a goalkeeper and coming only 12 months after Claudio Bravo joined for a reported £17million before failing to match expectations.
Day is Newport’s record signing since the club was reformed in 1989, but go further back and they paid £80,000 to Swansea for Alan Waddle in December 1980. Day at least is one of the first names on the team sheet. City’s record signing, the £60million Riyad Mahrez, is still trying to nail down a regular place in a side spoilt for choice when it comes to creative midfielders. Fourteen of his 34 appearances this season have come off the bench.
Rodney Parade’s capacity changes depending on who is playing – County share the ground with the Dragons rugby union team and Newport RFC. But when football is the sport, its capacity is listed at 7,850 – only 850 more than can fit into the stadium built at City’s training ground for the women’s team and the under-23s. The new rules ending replays at this stage of the competition mean Newport cannot hope to earn a trip to the 55,000-capacity Etihad Stadium, but given the state of the pitch and the support of their own fans, there is surely nowhere they would rather be playing than Rodney Parade on Saturday.
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