The FA is no longer fit for purpose; they are shills to the Premier League

John Nicholson
FA Cup logo on Coventry City shirt
FA Cup logo on Coventry City shirt

The abolition of FA Cup replays by the FA was a decision that was taken while only listening to the Premier League teams. Actually, make that the top six or seven Premier League teams. It’s the last straw for the FA; it’s proved itself to be unfit to be English football’s governing body.

Objections were obvious and simple. So we have to conclude that the FA considered those objections and dismissed them. They can’t have been a mystery. They just thought dishing out some extra money would smooth the process. How wrong they were.

On Friday night Kevin Nolan was on 5 Live, trying to justify it. He made a terrible effort. So terrible that he inadvertently revealed how narrow and selfish the decision is.

To be fair, if Nolan is the sharpest knife in the box, he hides it very well behind a traditional-style aversion to adverbs. I think that the vibrating plate Allardyce used to put him on has loosened his brain. You would have thought West Ham didn’t have more than 11 players they could field and those 11 were so tired that it was a human rights crime to make them play a replay. Pathetic. All that money spent and still moaning.

READ: Premier League shows arrogance and power again with selfish FA Cup replay sop

It surely goes without saying that top-flight teams have more resources than anyone. They regularly field their reserves in the early rounds of cup games, so this notion that the players are playing too much is not accurate. You are, as you already know, not required to play the first team. So what are you worried about?

As I say, Nolan sounded like he was chewing a seagull much of the time and he just kept asserting that games had to be completed on the day but without any justification. But just saying it does not make it true and is no argument in and of itself. Just play players who don’t usually play. There you go. Easy. Was that too difficult to think of? If they lose, so much the better, you’ve nothing more to worry about. Or if, for some reason, you just can’t bear to field a reserve team, just withdraw. It’s made all the more ironic that the players they want to protect are sent out to play what many Hammers fans will tell you is terrible football. The worst they’ve ever seen.

It was obvious that Nolan considered football really existed only for him and that this is a widespread assumption in the holy Premier League. What the public, who enrich these people so handsomely, want is insultingly absent from his and presumably other Premier League representations.

Here’s a thought: cut out the pre-season tours to foreign lands if you’re so concerned that they play too much football. No? You’d rather change the nature of one of English football’s great traditions to suit your hapless attempts to play football. Could you be more selfish if you tried?

Football is deep, wide and long. It is not all about the Premier League. But decisions are being made which affect the vast majority in the game without any thought for the fans, and just assume this is another change we will swallow without complaint. Whenever I hear the ‘too much football’ argument, I think they won’t be happy until they don’t have to play any games and will get paid for not doing so.

Clubs have up to 35 or more playing staff, 24 squad members, it makes no sense not to use them in the FA Cup.

With clubs already considering a boycott in protest, the FA is supposed to protect the integrity and future of the game. Since this decision and others prove they won’t, we should ignore them and break away from their aegis.

This is such a massive, fundamental change to the game that does not have widespread support outside of the mangled vowels of Kevin Nolan but is being imposed anyway, it’s time for a new alternative organisation because the FA is not fit for purpose. This proves it.