We contacted the FA, asking if they had insisted the match went ahead on the 5 Jan, and also asking if they had refused to wait until after the result of the Yeovil v Accrington game before the date of our tie was confirmed.
We have also received a further response from THFC. They say: "Once the mutual decision between the clubs had been reached that it was preferable from a footballing perspective to not play the game on the Saturday following our evening fixture v Chelsea on the preceding Thursday, our original preference was to play the game on the Sunday. As you have mentioned and as referenced within our earlier statements, this was an option that was not feasible due the “resource and stewarding” issues mentioned. The FA had insisted that our tie with Burnley be confirmed in advance of the Yeovil v Accrington tie. Therefore, as the home side and match organisers, Burnley, with agreement from ourselves, had no option but to request the match for Monday January 5th."
So, to clarify, the FA say the clubs wanted the game on the 5th, and the clubs are saying they didn't want to play on the 5th but the FA made them. Both of those statements cannot be true.
The "police and stewarding issues" referenced in THFC's original statement have not been clarified, and we have again written to the Lancashire police asking for clarification, without reply.
It's clear the timing of this fixture is not going to be changed.
We are appalled at the continued lack of any clear explanation of why this tie has been scheduled for the Monday evening. Despite all the fine words about commitment to the fans and the magic of the cup, the competition organisers, the clubs and the police have chosen either to point the finger at each other or simply not to respond at all. It makes an absolute mockery of the commitments to genuine consultation with supporters, and is another glaring example of the failure of football governance in 2014.
We note and endorse the statement from the Burnley Supporters Groups.
The only positives to come from this are the ticket pricing, Burnley's willingness to provide us with over the required allocation of tickets - in stark contrast to our experience in last year's third round - and THFC's decision to run free coach travel for those fans who can make the journey. We acknowledge those positives, but remain as sick as the proverbial parrot over the way fans have been treated on what should be one of the most special days in the football calendar. The third round of a once great competition becomes more devalued by those entrusted with its safe keeping every year.