Has The World’s Oldest Cup Competition Lost All Of It’s Magic?

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The FA Cup, Tottenham Hotspur
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FA Cup 1904

 (The nearest there was to an interactive wall-chart in 1904! The numbers on the colours correspond to the number of the team wearing them and there are some interesting names amongst the previous winners. The winners that year were…..Manchester City!)

The FA Cup may not be quite as glamorous as it used to be but it is still a trophy that the top clubs want to win.

An appearance at Wembley nowadays is no reward for reaching the final. After all, drawing Tottenham Hotspur away will have the same outcome this season, as will reaching the semi-final and it is this devaluation of the national stadium which has been a major contributor to the FA Cup losing much of it’s gloss.

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The “magic” of playing at Wembley has been lost due to the ground being prostituted by the FA in order to pay off debts accrued when massively under-estimating the initial cost and, consequently, massively over-paying for a stadium which is no better than the majority of top stadia around England and Europe.

Gone also are the days when the final was the only game shown live on both BBC and ITV and virtually the whole day was covered. From the teams leaving their hotel on Saturday morning to arriving at the stadium, the game and the presentation, ending with the post match interviews of the players and managers.

It used to be a magical day but has now become, in a similar way to Christmas, just an enormous commercial rip-off.

Another reason for the loss of interest has been the Champion’s League. Not because it is any better under this format than it was as the old European Cup, but because the games are now available to everybody.

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Again, back in the day, if we wanted to see Real Madrid on English television we had to hope they played an English team in the European Cup. Even then the game would be edited into highlights and a shortened version would be shown a while after the game had finished and the score was known.

Now all we have to do to see Real Madrid is turn on the TV and find a channel showing their game which, with IPTV, is a very simple exercise.

This has meant that watching the top teams in the top tournaments around Europe has become much easier and the FA Cup has suffered as a result.

So will this year’s FA Cup garner any more interest than is usual these days? The short answer is; no, it won’t.

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Giant-killing acts on frozen January pitches will not happen because there are no frozen January pitches any longer.

The difference between the quality of clubs outside of the top six in the Premier League and the top ten to fifteen of the Championship is negligible, so it is no real surprise when one beats another.

This season the trophy will be won by one of the following: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United or, maybe, Tottenham Hotspur although the year doesn’t end in a “one”.

That’s how predictable and, therefore, boring the FA Cup has become.

The same now applies to the Carabao Cup and the Premier League so the only competition with any type of mystery surrounding the eventual winner is the Champion’s League and even that can usually be whittled down to the same five or six usual suspects each year.

It retains it’s interest, however, because it is not often won by an English team and the intrigue is there every year to see if it will happen.

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Back to the subject at hand and we fervently hope that, if the FA Cup is not won by Manchester United this year then it is won by a team outside of the current top six or, even better, a team outside of the Premier League as in the days of the seventies when it was won by both Sunderland and Southampton of the second division.

If this can happen then, for probably only one year, a little of the magic will have returned in a similar way to when Leicester City won the Premier League.

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