FA Cup = The Credit Crunch Cup

by Michael Somerville

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Apart from Reading’s dramatic win at Anfield and Manchester United’s emabarrassing defeat to Leeds, the last round of the FA Cup was pretty dull to be honest.

It also saw one of the most dismally attended FA cup third-rounds in living memory. The particular event (or non-event) that no doubt most people will remember was the 5,335 crowd attendance at the DW stadium for Wigan vs Hull, which was particularly depressing for the reputation of the “magic of the cup.”

Supporters of Wigan may argue that crowds fell dramatically at other Northern clubs such as Bolton (attendance 11,193) Middlesbrough (attendance 12,474) and Preston (7,621) but other than it being very cold, there’s not much of a defence is there? Besides, I thought Northerners were supposed to be harder than the rest of us?!

Anyway…  4 things that would make the FA Cup seem all magical, glittery, dazzling and almost incomparably holy and beautiful again.

1.  Give the winners an automatic Champions League place. It would mean that the Villa’s, Tottenham’s and Man City’s would really go for it and would provide obvious and unparalleled excitement for smaller teams.

2. Incorporate Cup games into season tickets. True passionate fans with season tickets probably don’t feel inclined to pay extra to see their reserves play a League One side. Raise season ticket prices by 20% and include FA Cup games in the bundle. True fans will fork out.

3. Unless you’re Arsenal, nobody wants to see your reserves play. Have the rule that Premier League clubs must play 7 “first- teamers.” First teamer’s would be players that have started at least ten games already in the league. Mick McCarthy take note!

4. Increase the prize money for runners-up and winners. Clubs in a global recession need a financial incentive more than ever now. The reported £32 million sponsorship with E:On (which will end after the 2010 final) has meant that the FA has already sold its soul. The FA should help justify the sponsorship by giving greater rewards to potential victors. Currently, the winners receive £1.8 million and the runners up £900,000. To see a real increase in enthusiasm for the cup, the winnings should be tripled.

Final thought… For mid table Premier League clubs the FA cup should be an escape- a cheap equivalent of sunbathing in Australia on your Christmas holiday. It should give players the chance from the likes of Wigan and Middlesbrough to play without a millstone round their necks.

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  • dexylongshot

    I’m still laughing at the last minute penalty at White Hart Lane, magic!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    the Spuds squad is as good as Arsenals after all, hilarious!

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