Football / Sport

Has the FA Cup lost its magic?

Manchester United won the FA Cup in 2016

Over the past few years experts and newspapers have questioned the famous FA Cup, saying how it’s lost its touch and that the light is starting to go out. However others argue that the cup is as brilliant as ever, with the rising talents from the academies been given valuable game time and the underdogs eliminating the giant clubs.

The winners of the FA Cup receive £1.8 million, however in the modern day of football this amount of money is miniscule. If you look at it this way Manchester United star Paul Pogba is worth approximately 45 times as much as the FA Cup.

What could the FA do to make the competition more ‘appealing?’

The Football Association’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, said: “I would love to see a Champions League spot for the winners of the FA Cup.”

“We’re always open to evolve the competition, keep it relevant, make it attractive.”

Is it time the FA alter the competition or should it not be tampered with?

The 5th round of this year’s FA Cup saw Lincoln City beat Premier League side Burnley to become the first non-league team to reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup in 103 years. Results like these can be described as “football miracles” which give the FA Cup that sense of magic that it’s brought to English football.

Lincoln celebrating their FA Cup progress

However non-league side Sutton United who are currently sat 17th in the National League, saw their magnificent cup run come to end against Premier League giants Arsenal.

The lowest ranked team in the 5th round can hold their heads up high with their magnificent achievement, but the FA Cup didn’t end for them after their defeat to Arsenal.

According to givemesport.com, Arsenal made an “amazing gesture” to Sutton United after their FA Cup game.

Manager of Sutton United, Paul Doswell, explained in his post-match interview how the Gunners have promised to donate £50,000 towards two new classrooms for the club.

Stories like this demonstrate the special  nature of the  FA Cup.

David Farebrother, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Sutton United, believes the FA Cup is still magical especially for the lower league clubs.

He said: “It disappoints me when big clubs field understrength sides but I think fans still look forward to a trip to Wembley and in the earlier rounds all fans and players look forward to the opportunity of a giant killing or simply progressing to play against one of the big clubs.”

“The cup is certainly important to non-league clubs because of the potential financial benefits and only one  team can win a league but everyone could do well in the cup.”

What do students from Teesside University think about the FA Cup?

Tom Dawson, 19, studying Sports Science said: “I think the FA Cup is becoming more and more magical each year. I love to see clubs from the lower divisions doing well and beating the bigger teams as it lets us see new teams that most of us wouldn’t have ever watched in the past.”

Tom Wing, 20, studying Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation said: “Yeah I think it has lost its magic. Every team should start at round 1 and offer a Champions League place to the winners.”

Melissa Hunter, 18, studying Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation said: “I think prior to this year it started to lose its magic, but this year it seems like the magic may have come back with low-league teams and underdogs beating big teams.”

An  article from the Daily Mail suggested that the FA Cup is “under threat as clubs continue to treat it like a second-rate trophy.”

Experts such as Harry Redknapp and Alan Shearer have voiced their opinions on Premier League managers making too many changes in their teams and not taking the competition seriously.

Harry Redknapp criticised Premier League managers who “weaken” their squad when playing against lower league opposition.

The former Spurs and Portsmouth manager said: “You know at the start of the year there are five or six teams who can win the Premier League.”

“You know it’s the same teams every year, so you’ve got one chance to win a cup, so surely you’ve got to go for the FA Cup?”

Clubs that are making all these changes to their squads are “cheating fans” according to BBC pundit Alan Shearer.

In the fourth round the 13 Premier League teams that were left had made 98 changes to their line-ups, an average of 7.5 per team.

“Clubs care about money while fans care about trophies. That’s very unfortunate,” Shearer told BBC Sport.

The rotation of players in the cup competition proved a talking point as Liverpool made nine changes and were beaten at Anfield by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Match of the Day pundit Phil Neville believes the changes are “making the FA Cup better”.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to see the upsets.”

We are now at the semi-final stage of this year’s FA Cup with Arsenal; Tottenham; Manchester City and Chelsea left in the competition.

It seems that despite the ‘big boys’ not playing full strength teams at times they’ve still managed to get to Wembley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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