Exploits of Crawley Town and Leyton Orient provide timely reminder that FA Cup isn’t on its death bed just yet

by admin

Sunday, February 20th, 2011
 

FOOTBALL fans up and down the country were deprived of their weekly Premier League fix as the FA Cup took centre stage this weekend.

Nowadays there is a general antipathy for the FA Cup, as the Premier League provides greater entertainment. Who can blame them when a record-breaking 43 goals hit the back of the net a fortnight ago.

But the FA Cup did not fail to disappoint with Manchester United and Arsenal left arguably red-faced by what many would consider as being pretty straightforward ties.

Although of course United sneaked past plucky Crawley Town, Anders Lindegaard emphatically pointed out United should not be proud of their performance and one can only imagine the ‘hairdryer treatment’ dished out by the wily Sir Alex Ferguson.

Leyton Orient will have been even more elated after clinching a money-spinning replay away at the Emirates, and you would expect Arsenal not to slip-up up against their opponents 53 places below them in the football league ladder if they are to book a tasty quarter-final clash against Manchester United.

Manchester City toiled against Notts County in their fourth round replay before Premier League class told with the home side slotting five in the second-half to make the overall scoreline a route (5-0).

And despite the heroics of the lower league clubs, the FA Cup is embattled, in mortal danger of becoming extinct. In fact there was talk of revising the oldest domestic cup competition in the world.

Seedings for the top teams and mid-week games were among some of the ideas raised to revive what many see as a flagging competition.

Barry Hearn, the Leyton Orient Chairman, alluded to this in a column in The Times yesterday when he mentioned how the FA Cup needs to believe in the product that it is offering the fans and changing something too much will create more of a headache than necessary.

While clichéd, the FA Cup has special memories for fans, whether it be their team going on an epic cup run, or the fact that their team caused a giant-killing or even lifting the famous old trophy itself.

To dispense with the FA Cup altogether would be a travesty, as it is part of our national culture, it is deeply ingrained in our footballing DNAs.

The fact that it has slipped down the domestic cup competitions pecking order, even behind the Carling Cup is a shame in itself, and it seems hard to understand why there has been an apathy towards it in recent years.

Although the FA Cup is still firmly on the ‘footballing ventilator’, weekends such as these remind us why we fell in love with the FA Cup in the first place.

Follow me on Twitter @charlesperrin7

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