Premier League take note

by Mystical Mike

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,” oh and while you’re at it play on the violins, because while some of you are contemplating European Cup glory, my team, yes my team, have just been knocked out of the FA Cup.

Third Qualifying Round, September 2008. I’ll remember it, but I doubt if you full-time loving lot care even a sniff for the thing just yet. The most disappointing thing about falling at the first hurdle to an even smaller team from deepest East Anglia, is the larger prize fund this year, 69% up on last year. Which is why all of a sudden I understand why the Thurrock Chairman, Tommy South, announced this week that he’d refund any fan who watched his team’s “disgraceful and humiliating” performance in the FA Cup.

Can you imagine that happening elsewhere? Given current performances by Spurs, the government would have to switch allegiances from shoring up Northern Rock, to underwriting Daniel Levy and the rest of Tottenham’s board. Or how’s about Mike Ashley putting down the pint and realising the real way to a football fan’s heart is through his wallet.

Sadly I wasn’t at the Thurrock defeat, or indeed equally the Chelmsford City departure, or any one of the number of big cheeses who were unceremoniously dumped from the “greatest competition in the world.” You know “the one every team wants to play for”. If I had been I’m sure I would have felt like my fellow Claret compatriots – equally gutted.It’s a strange feeling not being in the cup anymore, but at least this season there appears to be a fair few of us in the same boat. So much so that we’ve already arranged a league fixture for our would-have-been blank Saturday.

When explaining my heart-felt disappointment the other night, one Chelsea fan piped up that perhaps we should play 30 from the Premier League (the Barclays variety) up against 30 from the Blue Square Premier in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.  Now, while I’m all for Mr Chelsea’s bravado (he obviously feels a home banker against Oxford coming on) I’m not so sure that the big boys of the “professional leagues” wouldn’t also slip up on a September Saturday.The great thing about football, and Hull proved that also this week, is you never quite know who or what is going to turn up. Will David James have a howler, will nothing connect to Ronaldo’s boot, and will Sir Alex decide this afternoon he’d be best suited to the pink jacket and chinos with a smile. The only thing guaranteed in the game we call beautiful, is that no matter how ugly or disappointing the performance we can’t let go.

I’ll be back to follow the mighty Chelmsford this weekend, albeit as we ‘concentrate on the league’, and I’ll turn up with the same hope and expectation next season that this year we might just do something special in the cup. In the meantime I still have my memories of the first round and Wycombe all those moons ago, and the dream that one day, just one day it may all happen over again. I can but hope.

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Caroline Barker presents The BBC Non League Football ShowEvery Monday from 9pm via Football, real fans.If you’ve got a story email the team

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  • Darren

    I think the Spuds fans should give money back to their fans, for a club that prides it’s self on playing attractive football I think what Ramos is serving up is truly woeful and a complete rip off.

    Bloody hilarious though!

  • got to be ‘joking here’

    I think boro fans were in two minds about asking for their money back on saturday on the one hand the football versus west brom was entertaining, it was more the result that wasn’t expected….but that’s football, you can play awful and win and wouldn’t think about asking for your money back or you can play fantastic and lose 3-0. It’s when the two of playing awful and losing that every paying fan is within his rights to ask for his money back!

  • Danny Brothers

    People forget that the FA Cup starts in August and not in November and the stories of “minnows” only comes up when it’s revealed before a big third round tie the lengths that these clubs go to just to simply qualify for the cup!

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