Many will remember the days when you woke up on a hot summers day in May, and it was the day of The FA Cup Final. Sitting with your families watching on your TV’s the fans walking down Wembley Way to the stadium, the players soaking it all up on the pitch before kick off and then the final itself – always a classic. The sheer delight that it was Cup final day, one of the biggest and historic competitions in world football. And for some, one of the greatest days in your life to travel to the capital and attend the final itself, I have been so lucky to have done this.
True, that nothing beats the magic of The FA Cup, the shock victories for non league sides against the country’s elite teams, those late winners, the breathtaking goals and the classic matches that we all remember.
But is it still the same competition in todays era? Is it as highly thought of?
Notably of late, the Premier League teams have been viewing The FA Cup as a chance to rest their top players for league matches and European ties. Similarly, many teams do this in the EFL Cup and have done so for many seasons. Is this the path that the FA Cup will take?
For Premier League clubs the most important task for the season is to survive relegation and stay in the division, whilst for some it is to challenge for the title and gain a place in Europe. This has a better monetary value than winning the historic FA Cup, a better status as a club and a better stability for growth.
The main incentive for a club to win the FA Cup is firstly, to join those many sides to have won the famous trophy, whilst it is great for club morale to do well in a cup competition each season.
On the face of it, the competition adds more matches to a clubs season, and that can take its toll on any squad. For a club that is competing for a title or competing in the latter stages of the European competitions it is an extra strain to be involved in the Cup as well.
It would seem that the FA Cup means more to smaller clubs, and for those Premier League clubs in a stable position within the league. A Cup run can be somewhat of an excitement for their season in comparison to those battling in the top flight for key positions.
The Fans? Well they love The FA Cup, every football fan in the country loves the magic of The Cup. But equally they want to avoid relegation and challenge for the league or promotion.
The FA Cup still matters to many across the country, including the big clubs, but it would seem that it has somewhat lost its appeal from the past, with many choosing to focus on their league form instead, whilst giving their ‘kids’ a chance in the FA Cup to get some gain time and to rest their high profile players.
One thing is for sure, The FA Cup Final will always live long in the memory for many, and the early rounds of the Cup will continue to produce those magical moments.