In a twist of fate where an FA Cup revival has stolen our hearts 120 years after the FA Cup was stolen from us, its importance is still questioned.
Is this an FA Cup revival where its magic is bringing us countless David vs Goliath style defeats or a competition so lacklustre and pointless that the big teams just no longer give a sweet FA?
That’s right, this year marks the 120th anniversary since the FA Cup was stolen from the window of a football fitter’s shop. This holds little to no significance, something that could be used as a metaphor for the Premier Leagues view on the competition.
FA Cup an annoyance?
We live in an era where Champions League qualification is seen as essential and FA Cup progression is almost an annoyance.
It has now become tradition before the FA Cup for a Premier League manager to come out and claim that the competition is as important as ever, only to play a team of second rate players. Managers of the top four seem to take it in turns to make this statement, this year it was Manuel Pellegrini.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert gave a more honest opinion admitting that the competition does come second to the Premier League
“If anyone says any differently then I am not so sure they will be telling the truth,“ he was quoted as saying by the Mirror.
Lambert admits the FA Cup may be waning in importance for England’s bigger clubs but for the lower tier teams it’s growing. They now hold realistic aspirations of beating top teams, it can take a season of mid table obscurity and create a mess of teary dreams and a taste of large scale success.
For most the measly figures Manchester United would have gained from drawing with Cambridge United weren’t worth thinking about, unless of course you were Cambridge. The U’s earnt over a million from the FA Cup replay, nearly matching their standard yearly revenue.
Buzz over FA Cup results still exists
When an FA Cup shock happens the country takes notice, fans of larger teams love it equally, it results in hundreds of “I Love the Magic of the FA Cup #FACUP” tweets and creates a buzz.
For fans of Arsenal or Chelsea it shows them a different breed of football, gives them a chuckle at their rival’s expense and creates excitement around as now dull competition.
For fans of the lower leagues it’s a bite back at the big bucks ball game played in the Premier League. A chance for them to show what they can do against the bigger sides and the ambition of a shot at a major trophy.
Left with a shot at the trophy are football league sides such as Preston, Bradford and Blackburn Rovers with 10 Premier League casualties, the most open the competition has been in years, if ever.
So maybe we should look at the competition not as another pointless trophy for Chelsea to win a thousandth time but a giant killing competition where the magic of football comes alive and a chance for the football league to strut its stuff and shows us what it’s got.