We must retain FA Cup magic

Ian Russell, Capital Canaries The FA Cup is in grave danger of becoming as irrelevant and unimportant as the League Cup. In no more than half a generation, the so-called most famous club cup competition on the planet has de-generated into little more than an inconvenient fixture list clogger for many of the top flight UEFA Cup chasers.

Ian Russell, Capital Canaries

The FA Cup is in grave danger of becoming as irrelevant and unimportant as the League Cup. In no more than half a generation, the so-called most famous club cup competition on the planet has de-generated into little more than an inconvenient fixture list clogger for many of the top flight UEFA Cup chasers.

With hindsight, I'm certain the respective managers of Bolton, Blackburn and Everton would have preferred to have been in the 4th Round draw, but had they have cared as much as their predecessors 20 or 30 years ago, they would have made sure they were in the hat.

There was a time when the FA Cup could be a life saver for mid-table clubs, injecting hope of salvaging their season or giving their fans and players a once in a life time day at a Wembley Final.


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The reality we face now, however, is clubs fielding weakened teams, poor attendances (not surprisingly) and defeatist talk from some of the game's top figures (Mr Coppell in particular). All sounds remarkably similar to the League Cup to me. Ultimately of course everything points back to the money. Edging yourself into a UEFA Cup league placing will prove considerably more lucrative than a domestic cup run and far more achievable to finish 6th or 7th than earning a place by winning a trophy (the last 12 years' winners of the FA Cup have been one of the 'Big 4').

How ironic then that it is also the FA Cup that gives lifeblood to some of the grass-roots clubs. Inclusion and progression in the cup is everything to Luton Town (who have just been able to pay their players for the first time in months, thanks to their money-spinning replay at Anfield). I'm certain that Chasetown and Havant & Waterlooville will be able to step up a rung on the ladder after their terrific runs (Havant's is still going of course).

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The FA Cup is a huge ingredient of our English football pedigree, but I fear that we will continue to see it watered down over the next few seasons and we may only have our own special memories to share with the new generations of fans. I hope I'm wrong and the cup's unique magic will still be sprinkled over many cup ties to come. May the spirit of our very own '59's, Ronnie Radford and Sutton United live on.

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