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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Nostalgic FA Cup Can’t Fight New Money

Written by on February 20, 2012 | 8 Comments »
Posted in Cup Competitions

There was a time not so long ago that an FA Cup weekend would have soccer fans throughout England and in other parts of the world enthralled.

From the first tournament in 1872 the FA Cup has offered affiliated clubs in England and Wales, no matter how small, a chance to enter the single match knock-out competition. Progress rested simply on who was best on that particular day.

The format of straight knock-out generated shocks and surprises and naturally created local heroes, many of the unlikely variety. With each win by a local David over a big-town Goliath another layer of the mythology was added to the FA Cup.

But somewhere in the last twenty years or so the FA Cup has lost much of its lustre. Many place the blame firmly with ……

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8 responses to “Nostalgic FA Cup Can’t Fight New Money”

  1. J ROB says:

    Nice article in Forbes Bobby. Also interesting to note how unseriously some Championship managers are now treating the FA Cup. It would seem lower division Stevenage were a far harder proposition this past weekend than either Blackpool or Brighton. Obviously, the performances of Birmingham and Leicester might refute that but it looked like Guy Poyet and Ian Holloway are more interested in a play-off spot for the lucrative EPL than the chance of a good cup-run.

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    For me the different countries FA Cups are for Cinderellas and for top flight clubs once they are further along in it. Championship sides would much rather not damage promotion aspirations.
    Nobody/teams cares about the league ( coffee) cup until the semis.

    Ultimately its always been about money. Even “the glory” brought money. The fact remains that promotion and CL spots are much more lucrative. Unfortunately for Arsenal / Wenger some silverware that was in hand slipped through the fingers.

  3. John Bladen says:

    Ed, what silverware was ‘in hand’???

    I enjoyed the Forbes article Bobby. I’m wondering if they perhaps cut the end off, though? Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed to end rather suddenly…

    While the expansion of the CL competition to include more clubs from each nation has increased national & international interest (and thus the prize pool…), it can hardly be argued that it has also robbed national cup competitions of some of their lustre.

  4. Ed Gomes says:

    Shocking loss to Birmingham.

    For me the FA Cup, Tacas, Coppas, etc… still mean something. They are rich in tradition.
    League Cups are coffee cups that only mean something years from happening when they get lumped in for silverware counts.

  5. Carmelo Gabriele says:

    I like the article on as well… although personally I think the FA could try to get rid of the Carling Cup… too many senseless domestic cup games…
    BTW as anyone else noticed how little coverage Napoli beating Chelsea at the San Paolo received in the FSC report of 10est ?? did they record the show before the game??? LOL! if chelsea would have won quite a contrasting show I guarantee you… its simply too hard for fair coverage from a evidently strong English bias from the network… Rumor as it that if English teams don’t do better soon FSC will drop the champions league coverage & start airing Npower championship games instead… LOL… how feeble from FSC…

  6. John B – when you get past 1200 words it is time to bring the curtain down

  7. John Bladen says:

    Ah, yes, word restrictions…

    Another question: Did you watch Madrid the other day? We only got the highlights, but it looked suspiciously like they were playing on artifical turf at Luzhniki.

    Now, I could certainly understand that given the appalling weather, but I seem to recall ‘them’ proclaiming indignantly that “Real Madrid do NOT play on plastic” a few years ago….

  8. Tom H says:

    John B – If you click on the article title, the resulting page gives you the option of going to pages 2 and 3.

    I wish the FA would give Champions League qualification for the FA Cup Winner (and restore it to the 4th place finisher if the winner finishes 1-3 in the league). But I think they don’t want to risk a smaller club playing in the Champions League.

    Also, why did Chelsea receive much more money than Spurs for making it to the same round? Is it because as the Premier League champion the previous year they were considered a greater draw for TV than the 4th place Premier League finisher?(Tottenham).

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