Hunslet receive unlikely exposure during televised FA Cup clash

James Gordon
Hunslet FA Cup

Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire/PA Images

Eagle-eyed viewers of the televised FA Cup clash between Ebbsfleet United and Fleetwood Town on ITV might have been perplexed by the mention of Hunslet on the pitch-side advertising.

The club’s famous ‘lion rampant’ badge and their motto ‘so we shall again’ could be seen by the nearly 16 million viewers worldwide.

It came as a result of Damian Irvine’s links with both clubs. He is a non-executive director of Hunslet and the chief executive of Kent-based football club Ebbsfleet.

The development has been mutually productive, particularly when Hunslet benefited from Irvine’s experiences with Ebbsfleet in dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns, which affected winter-based football earlier than summer-based Rugby League.

Hunslet FA Cup exposure

Irvine wasted no time, when United were drawn at home to Fleetwood in the FA Cup and the tie was chosen by ITV for live coverage, in ensuring that the Parksiders – and their main sponsor 247Blinds – were given the chance to make the most of the opportunity.

247Blinds took out pitch-side advertising and Hunslet’s logo and motto also featured prominently on `rolling’ displays behind a goal, and close to the halfway line.

The only negative – for Irvine and for those, including Hunslet fans, who were rooting for the home team – was that Ebbsfleet lost 1-0 to a side that sits several rungs higher in the football hierarchy. United, however, bowed out of the competition with heads held high.

Irvine said: “Other than the result itself, it was a successful day, and I was delighted that Hunslet and the sport of Rugby League were also able to benefit.

“The UK-based viewership was 3.4 million, with a further 12.5 million worldwide. Ebbsfleet fans were hugely interested, while Rugby League fans on social media commented on how unusual and innovative it was.”

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