The idea that the FA Cup has lost its credibility and interest is an exaggerated myth, and the fans of English football still love their historic competition.
It’s competing now with the Champions League and Premier League in terms of the rewards and global interest, but I don’t think it’s lost anything. It maintains its place as a trophy all would love to win, and all fans enjoy following. Yes, attendance has been lower than in the past, especially in the earlier rounds with the big teams, but when the Premier League matches ask for fans to pay such high fees, what do you expect?
In terms of desire to win, the majority of teams have gone out there to win it and to get as far as they possibly can. The only exception is perhaps Southampton, who bizarrely rested their first team against Sunderland in the fifth round when they have little on the line in the EPL. But apart from them, the only other lineup changes have really come out of necessity.
You can see how much it means to the fans, with Hull City‘s win over Sunderland to reach a Wembley semifinal on Sunday being followed up by a pitch invasion. At Arsenal, their fans were praying that Arsene Wenger would name a full-strength side against Everton, despite having a Champions League tie with Bayern Munich just a few days later. That’s because they respect the tournament still.
I don’t really get this idea that no one cares for it any more. The fans, clubs and players clearly still want to be a part of it. The FA forgot about tradition and changed the kickoff times of the final to an evening time, while no longer having it as the last game of the season. While BT Sport decided they would have the Arsenal vs. Coventry tie on a Friday night, it still saw a sellout crowd, with the away fans showing they care about the FA Cup.
The competitive magic has returned this season in my view. There have been some cracking matches, with Wigan‘s historic win over Manchester City joining a list which includes Arsenal’s win over Liverpool, a match that won’t be forgotten quickly.
‘Experts’, take a look at what’s really been lost the next time you write an article about how no one cares for the FA Cup any more. For us fans, we love it. It’s great, we want it on the last day of the season just like it used to be, but the organisers and TV company are the ones who lost the love as they just want the money.