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The FA Cup Is Dead
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
The most recent round of FA Cup fixtures started with another step away from the traditional. There’s a reason good television shows generally aren’t placed on a Friday, but that didn’t stop BT Sport – who are doing their part alongside the FA, UEFA and FIFA to take the game into unwanted territories – from sticking Arsenal’s home tie against Coventry on Friday night.

Maybe there’s something intriguing, if not entirely pleasant about having a football game on a Friday night. It’s a small matter in the overall problem of the FA Cup, though; that being the difficulty in seeing the game’s oldest cup competition recapturing its former glory.

The older generation will talk up the Magic of the Cup, speak highly of the final at Wembley and the romantic side of the game that manages to conjure itself at various points along the way. Every time there is a giant killing, that old way of thinking comes to the fore: clubs and the younger generation should appreciate this competition for what it is.

The problem is it’s so difficult to do so. The FA Cup is tedious, a nuisance, bordering almost on the pointless. History is attached to the name; if sponsors have their way and completely rename the competition, then what purpose does it serve? We already have a cup competition in this country.

For those who will talk up the relevancy of the FA Cup for the smaller teams in the Premier League and Football League, there are many managers who use it as an excuse to rest players for what are deemed the more important fixtures in the calendar.

Money obviously plays its part. The earnings garnered from the Champions League and Premier League make it a pointless effort to focus attention on the FA Cup, whose winners last season, Wigan, only took home £1.8 million.
But there are equally important factors in play. It’s getting more and more difficult to defend the congested fixture list. Is there a good enough reason why the English leagues can’t fall in line with those on the continent and introduce a winter break? If the primary excuse is the tradition of Christmas and New Years fixtures, then by evidence of the FA Cup alone, traditions are there to be broken.

Moreover, and perhaps decisively, that Magic of the Cup pales in comparison to what goes on in Europe. The World Cup is a celebration of the game and it will long hold a place in people’s hearts as the pinnacle of the game. For the younger generation, broadcasters and clubs themselves have forced the Champions League to the top of the mountain, the priority above all else.

There is something magical about the Champions League, even if we can find flaws in its current setup. We use Liverpool’s win in 2005 as a reference point to advertise the unpredictability of the game; Barcelona’s wins over Manchester United in 2009 and 2011 speak of the beauty of the modern day greats, their platform with the world as their audience.

The FA Cup doesn’t have that. For some, it simply passes by while the wait continues for the resumption of the league fixtures. There isn’t the same feeling for the Champions League, with fans whose teams aren’t competing in the competition holding it in similar reverence as those who travel to stadiums around Europe on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

We like the idea of our clubs winning the double; evidently we’re yearning for one of our own to replicate the accomplishments of those in Europe with a modern day treble swoop. But the FA Cup is the gloss to an already fantastic achievement in the case of the double; it’s not held in equal esteem as the Premier League crown.

Maybe it is just the younger generation speaking, but there are better and far more exciting adventures to go on in the modern game than the FA Cup.

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