Ten Things We'd Like To See In The FA Cup Third Round

From Sam Allardyce's latest excuse, to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer laying down the law, to Ronnie Radford's weekend off, here are some things we'd like to see from the FA Cup...

Last Updated: 03/01/14 at 09:14 Post Comment

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Smaller clubs not to be patronised to within an inch of their lives
Look, some of these teams want to win, okay? It's not just a big day out to a big shiny stadium for a set of six-toed bumpkins from the sticks who marvel at the sight of floodlights. They're going to be thoroughly irked if they leave having received a shoeing, and aren't just going to be grateful for being allowed in a lovely big ground that doesn't have broken glass on the pitch. Football is generally a partisan spectacle first, a form of public entertainment second - fans of all clubs want to see their boys win, not the chance to witness Frank Lampard in the flesh.


Commentators appreciating context
On a related note, there will be an upset of some description and magnitude this weekend. A team will beat another team in a higher division to them. This may well be a team currently struggling in their lower division - for example Oldham, at present drifting towards the ugly end of League One, are playing Liverpool, at present rather closer to the pretty end of the Premier League. If Oldham or a similar side wins, a request to Alan Green/Jon Champion/whoever: do not say 'I can't understand why they're struggling if they can play like this'. There's a reason for teams being at the bottom of League One: they're sh*t. But you know what? Sometimes footballers play above their abilities, and sometimes other footballers play below theirs. You'd think that people who watch football for a living will have worked this out by now.


Manchester United really going for it
David Moyes needs this. With United seventh in the table and having the bubble of their recent run of wins well and truly burst by the defeat to Spurs, this is one of those cases where it might not necessarily save too much face if he wins, but the damage if they lose will be much worse. United face Swansea on Sunday, and Moyes might well be tempted to cut loose and really go for it. He needs a win, and a big one too.


Sam Allardyce's excuses if West Ham lose
"When there's eight out, it's not my fault," was the plaintive whine from Big Sam after West Ham's defeat to Fulham on Wednesday. Sure, it's hardly ideal to have so many players absent, but West Ham's key injuries are in central defence and up front, two positions in which they are deficient even when everyone is fully fit. Players getting injured is not the manager's fault - the manager either buying players who are chronically injury-prone or not buying players at all, is. We're very much looking forward to what creative excuse he devises should West Hame lose to Nottingham Forest on Sunday.


Everyone is disappointed Steve McClaren doesn't really sound silly anymore
If your team isn't in the Football League, there's really no earthly reason why you'd pay attention to it, other than the play-offs and to occasionally marvel at how exciting and unpredictable it is. You certainly wouldn't actively seek out interviews with Championship managers, so you might still think Steve McClaren is schtill Schteve McClaren, and are looking forward to hearing him speak after/before Derby's game with Chelsea. Well, sorry, he isn't really anymore - there are still occasional hints of that curious 'European' inflection in his voice, but the accent is mostly gone and he now sounds more or less like it did seven years ago. Listen. Sorry.


At least one Premier League manager to admit they just don't care
As unpalatable as it might be for some, the FA Cup is well down the list of priorities for many managers. A good portion of them, quite frankly, do not give a stuff. And that's fine - what with the pressures of either staying up or winning the league or qualifying for the Champions League or keeping their jobs by pleasing megalomanic owners and so forth, it's hardly surprising that what basically amounts to a romantic bauble (not like that) isn't given top priority. It would be pretty funny to hear a manager actually say all that, mind.


At least one Football League manager to admit they just don't care
"FA Cup? You're joking aren't you? I'm resting half the team for Rochdale next week. We're not going to win the bloody thing, are we? So what's the point? Romance? Talk to me about romance when we get the seats in the dug-out fixed."


Ronnie Radford to have the weekend off
Picture the scene. It's late December. TV producers are preparing their shows for FA Cup third round weekend. They're tired. It's just after Christmas. Inspiration is low. Someone shrugs and says "Ah, look, just ring Radford again." Meanwhile, in a house in Hereford (presumably he still lives there) the mood is dark, the air heavy with grim anticipation. Mrs Radford won't let him rip the phone out of the wall in case someone important calls. But every time it rings, Ronnie growls "I'm not in". Mrs Radford sighs, and politely tells Giles from the BBC that no, Ronnie won't be available to do a bit with Dan Walker, sorry. "If I'd know what the next 40 years would be like, I would've f*cking passed," says Ronnie.


Harry Redknapp to announce he is returning to West Ham during half-time of QPR's game against Everton
Well, it'd be pretty funny, wouldn't it?


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to insist his team wears blue
Even though Cardiff are playing Newcastle, and thus have no earthly reason to alter their nominated home colour, it would be quite a publicity grab for Ole to not only send his team out in blue shirts for this game, but announce that in the interests of club tradition, they will only be wearing blue. Even when their opposition wears blue. "Clashing kits is a small price to play for identity," he might say.

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