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Friday, January 9, 1998 Published at 02:46 GMT


Newcastle appeal over Broadhall Way tie
image: [ Newcastle say the safety risks are too high ]
Newcastle say the safety risks are too high

The Football Association say they have received Newcastle United's formal objections to playing their FA Cup fourth round tie at Stevenage.

The Newcastle manager, Kenny Dalglish, says he is concerned that the ground is unsafe for such an occasion and is unhappy that only a minority of their fans will be able to attend the match.

Kenny Dalglish says safety is his only concern (3'51")
The capacity at Broadhall Way is 6,700 but Stevenage say that additional seating would allow them to send 3,500 tickets to Newcastle.

The FA spokesman, Steve Double, has confirmed they will listen to the Premiership club's protest before making a final decision on the January 25 match.

Mr Double said: "It has become apparent that they [Newcastle] have become unhappy about the ground. It's not embarrassing to us because it is certainly within the rules for Newcastle to make an appeal."

[ image: Number 11, Ronnie Radford, scores against Newcastle in 1972]
Number 11, Ronnie Radford, scores against Newcastle in 1972
Stevenage, a non-league club, have accused their opponents of 'Big Brother' tactics after United asked them to consider switching the tie to another ground.

Newcastle sent their safety officer to the ground on Wednesday and later released a statement claiming it would be "totally unsuitable bearing in mind the immense interest in the tie and the anticipated level of support from Newcastle fans for this match".

Meanwhile, legendary giantkiller Ronnie Radford believes that there is more to Dalglish's reluctance to play at Stevenage than just safety considerations.

The former Hereford midfielder is still part of football folklore after lashing home the then Southern League side's equaliser from 35 yards against Newcastle in the FA Cup third round of 1972.

[ image: Kenny Daglish: concerned about fans' safety]
Kenny Daglish: concerned about fans' safety
The non-Leaguers went on to a famous 2-1 victory and Radford claims that the fear of a repeat is haunting the Magpies.

Radford said: "I'm sure there is that fear of humiliation. We could see the frustrations on the bench when we played Newcastle and that fear still remains."

But Dalglish, has rejected such claims, saying: "We are not reluctant to play there."

"Our greatest concern is for safety and if we get guarantees from our safety officers we will play Stevenage at their home ground," he said.

"The most important thing for us is that our fans can travel there with peace of mind."

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