As everyone from your mum to your cousin's pet gerbil knows, it was the FA Cup Qualifying First Round last weekend, with mouthwatering ties featuring Alsager Town vs. Burscough, Bristol Manor Farm vs. AFC Portchester, Plymouth Parkway vs. Merthyr Town, and who could forget, Jarrow Roofing Bolden CA vs. Congleton Town.
It's a shame none of them are being broadcast on Sky Sports so the television giant could bill them as titan clashes of Napoleonic proportions featuring discoloured fast-tracked clips of Bristol Manor Farm players clenching their fists and roaring, all while being soundtracked by orchestras and thunderstorms. It's nothing less than they deserve.
I'm being serious. These are some of the most interesting parts of the competition where famous old names have their chance in the spotlight again (like boy group Another Level returning to play Butlins or something); plus the introduction of local sides whom you like to see do well, but never attend their matches (usually because they cost nearly as much as some Premier League games). It all makes for a fascinating time.
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Going by the way many managers and fans, particularly from the clubs in the top two tiers, talk of the cup, one would gather that it is an unwelcome distraction rather than the prestige that it has held and brought to people since its inception over 140 years ago. As usual it comes down to money.
Of course, for the lower league and non-league clubs, it means they are taking part in the same competition as the modern greats. Plus the chance of potentially being only a match or two away from coming up against Wayne Rooney and co in the flesh rather than facing them sitting on a couch in their underpants surrounded by empty beer cans and pizza boxes in the form of that year's edition of FIFA.
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There is no getting away, however, from the fact that money is needed to finance their passion for football to pay for the ground, its upkeep, wages, food etc...etc... And clubs can get a lifetime's worth by just winning a few matches that will keep them alive.
Whereas the cup for them represents the biggest financial rewards they can get, for the Premier League and Championship clubs, it is short change; which is why they disregard the competition more than they used to. And again, it is to do with survival, just on a bigger scale.
Each position in the Premier League is worth £1.2 million, and seeing as you can get more than say, three teams level on points, the difference between finishing 15th and 11th is massive. So each match on the calendar that near to an FA Cup fixture is likely to be prioritised. Winning the FA Cup meanwhile is worth £1.8 million.
And it's not just the world's oldest football cup competition that is graded well below the differences between finishing 15th or 13th in the Premier League - the League Cup is worth a measly - in today's football terms - £100,000. So that means moving up two league positions is worth more than winning England's two domestic trophies.
From both sides of the coin, it is money. It's just a case of that it is simply not enough for some while the lives of others can depend on it. Despite this, I'm sure that the players from the likes of Plymouth Parkway and Burscough will pay little attention to that. It is all about a release from the likely mundanities of their day jobs and their love of playing football in a competition that they grew up watching and dreaming of being in.
I doubt that, when they were scoring a goal in the park, they were imagining it to be the winner in a South West Peninsula Premier Division clash against Bodmin Town: it was the FA Cup, the World Cup and the Premier League on occasion. But the FA Cup mainly...probably.
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