This is a piece I wrote for the Atherton Colls match day programme vs Radcliffe Borough for the FA Cup game earlier this season which is reproduced below. If you want to view the whole programme you can find it on the link below.
The Football Association Challenge Cup- the oldest knockout competition in the world. Better known as The FA Cup.
For years the competition has brought upsets and magical moments which has left the fans and the players wanting more. But has the competition now being devalued as the so called big teams fielded weakened teams?
Once the FA Cup was the biggest competition for English teams after the league. But now English teams are making the latter stages of The Champions Leagues and surviving in the league becoming more important the FA Cup is being devalued by many clubs.
Wigan Athletic bucked the trend last season and managed to win the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Manchester City. But, were sadly relegated just days later after their cup success. This seemed to be a similar story at Luton Town as they missed out on a shot of promotion as they had an excellent cup run which included them beating Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road. Before going out in the 5th round to Millwall at Kenilworth Road.
But on the whole it feels like the greatest knockout competition in the world is losing the magic touch so how can we make it better?
Well for a start the media could cover the earlier games a lot more. In the early rounds only the local media covers the cup ties such as the local newspapers and the non-league paper. I fully understand people watching BBC will not want to watch a game such as Atherton Colls v Radcliffe Borough live on the BBC but maybe the FA Cup could have a camera there and it be put on the North-West web page. As not every team can make it into round one and get on the TV.
Also the round names could be changed why is it that we play in the first qualifying round etc. Clubs have already qualified for the FA Cup so why do Non-league teams have to go through a qualifying process to make it into playing Premier League teams. Many people think the FA Cup start at round 3 when Premier League and Championship sides enter the fray. Yet some teams like Hasting United last season have been playing in the cup competition since September.
My final way that the FA Cup could be improved is by seeding the teams so a premier league and championship clubs are in one pot, league one, two and non-league clubs in the other. That way we can have a more David v Goliath ties. The FA Cup is famous for the Giant killings and it’s what everyone loves. Also it will stop the all premier-league clashes happening. We seem play each other week, so why do we want to watch them again? The FA Cup is a chance for a little side to pit their wits against the big boys. I know we may at points be imbalanced so the lower ranked teams are placed in one pot and the top teams in the other.
I doubt the FA will use these ideas and will leave it how it is, but maybe they will try for a change and will go for it and trying and make the FA Cup become the great competition a club side can play in these days.
You can read a copy of that match day programme here.