Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughLeave Our Cup Alone - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Leave Our Cup Alone - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Leave Our Cup Alone

Non – league Crawley town run Manchester United down to the wire at Old Trafford, whilst Leyton Orient earn a money spinning replay, following a last gasp equaliser.

 If the weekend proved anything within the football world it was that romance – at least in terms of the F.A Cup anyway – is still very much alive.

The FA Cup loosing its magic has long been something of a conversation starter in footballing circles, much like the phrase ‘bad weather we are having’, seems to break down conversational boundaries in everyday life.

 However, the exploits of Crawley Town and Orient against Premier League big boys – United and Arsenal respectively- surely put the debate to bed, at least until next season?

Apparently not.  The news today has been full of Orient Chairman defending the current format of the 139-year-old, domestic trophy.

I wouldn’t say I could often agree with Orient Chairman Barry Hearn, who after all comes across as a guy who would have no trouble starting a fight in an empty house, and hasn’t shied away from his own controversial views of football over the years. But much of what he put about the FA Cup rung true. 

For those of you not aware the new FA Chairman David Bernstein is looking to make changes to the traditional format in a search for more revenue and reto rejuvinate the apparently dying interest in the cup.

The ideas include seeding, the abolishment of replays and more midweek games.

The things that make the FA Cup magical – the big boys travelling uneven, mud ridden pitches, with fans within touching distance on the terraces and non- league teams travelling to the theatre of dreams to play in a game of a lifetime, could all become a thing of the past if a new era for the cup is sanctioned.

The options being discussed may make more commercial sense and panda to the big clubs with no replays meaning an emptier schedule, but removing the risk of being embarrassed by the underdog, if seeding is introduced, will be the death of the worlds most watched domestic cup.

For many a football league fan, The F.A cup does not represent the chance of a trophy but a chance of a giant killing, as your much loved team – who may be struggling at the wrong end of League One – has a chance of facing those in the comfort of the promised land of the Premier League.

As a Brentford fan, my sides 2-1 over Premier League Sunderland in 2006, was a magical moment, the kind of moment that you don’t get the privilege of enjoying as an avid Bees fan.

For many years to come I will remember DJ Campbell – who was a van driver only a few months earlier – sending Sunderland crashing out of the F.A Cup.

In that reflective anecdote lies the beauty of the cup.

If seeding is introduced and money-spinning replays removed, I would argue that the FA Cup, prestigious history aside, would lose its gloss and stories full of giant killing fairytales of shirt swaps with footballing heroes.

The idea of the F.A Cup without the legends of Underdogs would not be the same…. 

So on behalf of football fans everywhere, I join Orient Chairman, Barry Hearn in saying –

 “ If it aint broke ,don’t fix it.”

Martyn Edwards

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