Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe FA Cup will never lose it’s magic - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The FA Cup will never lose it’s magic - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The FA Cup will never lose it’s magic

The FA Cup is a British institution, when a football fan thinks about it a wave of nostalgia floods through their brain. Famous memories have been cemented into the minds of every supporter, no matter what level of the football pyramid their team are based, and as every season comes and goes, more of these defining memories from the competition are created and make their way into the history of English sport.

Gerrard and Cantona’s sensational last gasp wonder strikes in memorable finals, Gigg’s goal of the decade against Arsenal, Non-League Exeter holding Man United to a draw at Old Trafford in 2005. These are just four examples of the hundreds of events which will be etched into the memory of many a fan. Even cup narratives most of us were not around for, such as the ‘Matthews Final’ in 1953 are passed on through generations as if they were a family heirloom.

The debate centering around the importance of the cup was triggered in 2000 when winners of the previous season Man United, decided to not enter the competition. Although some may have seen this as the beginning of a downward spiral, it instead gave evidence to show that the football community still held the prestigious tournament in held regard, and were disgusted that British football’s most famous club would just dismiss it in order to play a few money spinning matches against second-rate Australian and Mexican sides in the Brazilian sun.

Since then, the new century has illustrated that the cup is still as popular as ever. In 2010 the highest average attendance was recorded on third round weekend since 1980. On top of this, remarkable cup upsets continue to defy the form book and general rules of ability, with Premiership side Newcastle going down to recently promoted League Two team Stevenage. Even Man United, enemies of the cup 10 years ago, have unintentionally given the competition some propulsion in the last two seasons, by being victims of a cup upset to Leeds in 2010, and by contesting a close match with Non-League Crawley Town this season.

Even those not born in England are aware of the importance of the cup to and it’s ability to capture the public’s imagination. Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti explained how he was giving the briefing about the cup’s prestige as soon as he arrived in the country: ‘The first thing that the club said to me is that the FA Cup is not the Italian Cup, the club want to win this competition, just like the Premier League or the Champions League. It’s the same. We want to do the best.’ he said.

So then, there is no doubt that the debate surrounding the cup’s importance will again be reignited this season. But for the supporters of the 763 teams which have entered this term’s competition, their respective clubs will no doubt create experiences good and bad for the fan’s to look back on, these experiences will then evoke fond memories of this period in their life. This is what makes the FA Cup a timeless competition, and one that manifests itself into the identity of football in this country. And as Sepp Blatter and  his gang of ageing FIFA cronies attempt to do anything ‘legitamitally’ possible to alter the sport for financial gain, the Football Association Challenge Cup will remain intact and will never lose it’s magic.

Paul Hill



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