“The FA Cup does not mean anything anymore,” or “The FA Cup simply clogs up the fixture list,’ are sentiments that a worrying number of people seem to share these days.
Now, while I’m well aware that this is far from the majority of fans, there is certainly a segment of football supporters – and certainly managers – who seem pretty nonplussed by the idea of the FA Cup. And, in particular, don’t seem to care for the third round weekend. Which, for me, is one of the highlights of the domestic footballing calendar.
So, with all that being said here is why the FA Cup third round is excellent and all its haters need to be locked away in Room 433.
The FA Cup third round is so good because crucially it provides a bit of variety. As fans, there are often periods where your team is struggling in the league. So a welcomed trip to a lower league ground you’ve never been to before or a visit from one of the Premier League big boy that really gets the imagination running can never be viewed as a bad thing.
The upsets can be thrilling: see the exploits of Newport County at the weekend as a clear example of how exciting it can be to watch a League Two side defeat an established Premier League outfit.
Some managers definitely treat the FA Cup with too much disdain. Claude Puel at Leicester should view the FA Cup as a realistic opportunity to actually win a trophy and not play a weakened side. Sure, maybe change your goalie. But the eyes should be on the prize in these games.
Jurgen Klopp is a manager I very much admire. However, his record in the FA Cup is dreadful. Always putting out a second or third-string team, the German has never guided his Liverpool team past the fourth round.
A side like Wolves – who beat them this year – played their full strength squad because they know that with no massive threat of relegation to play for, the FA Cup is really important for them.
Obviously, if you’re in the heat of a relegation battle perhaps the FA Cup should not be your number one priority. But it can provide some welcomed relief if your side is struggling.
I cannot fathom the idea that the competition is “not important” anymore. I think a fan of any club should be delighted to win it and if you have some agenda against the FA Cup then you deserve to be placed in Room 433.