Mails: It’s pure snobbery to hate FA Cup

Date published: Tuesday 10th January 2017 9:00

It was touch and go whether we would have enough for a Mailbox. Come on people…send your mails to


Hatred of FA Cup is a bit stinky
(Off to the cinema to watch a film called Silence, ironically) Milton Keynes quite simply Plymouth fans care. In fact they have just had one of the most memorable weekends in recent years. Stourbridge fans love the FA Cup. I am a disappointed Baggie and whilst I am gutted we are out, I bet you that the Derby fans care. How about Wolves? After years of misery and mediocrity they have seen their team win away Stoke. The opportunity for humiliation for a big club is the best bit about it. Get over yourself.

I personally do not like Klopp. Happy to be gracious when it goes his way but pretty brittle when it doesn’t. Therefore I found the turgid 0-0 one the highlights of the weekend. It really made me laugh. And I can feel the joy of the Plymouth fans.

Enjoy watching Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Do you know what mate? I don’t care. I find European football totally irrelevant as my side have not played in Europe since the 70s. I can relate to the FA Cup. I have good memories. 2-1 away at Sunderland under Gary Megson. And bad memories, 4-2 defeat at home to Woking under Bobby Gould. The FA like the NHS is far from perfect. But it would be disastrous if it went away. We would be lost without it. There is so much luck required to win the competition from the draw through to the game itself, but it creates moments that real fans will remember fondly forever.
Ben the Baggie


…Having just read ‘Joe LFC (Off to the cinema to watch a film called Silence, ironically) Milton Keynes’ why he hates the FA Cup, it sums up all that is wrong with modern football in this country.

First, the LFC fan from Milton Keynes criticising how boring he finds the FA Cup says it all really doesn’t it. I could stop there with my point proven but I’ll continue to try to explain.

Well it’s these big clubs with all their fans who have no affiliation with the football club other than trying to glean some associated glory, who are ruining the FA Cup.

These same big clubs that make so much money, filtering down very little of it through the English football pyramid. Who have huge squads and hoard players. Who build academies for youngsters to better ‘develop’ them, only find playing them in competitions against other youngster can only develop them so far.

So they come up with atrocious ideas like ‘B’ teams in the lower leagues or infiltrating the lower league cup competitions. See how much lower-league fans want to see that by looking at the attendances of the Checkatrade trophy.

The Premier League rides roughshod over the rest of football league and is so far out of touch with lower-league football, its own history and loses sight that the Premier League is built on the uniqueness of the English football pyramid.

Well, they should give something back to the rest of English football and the FA Cup is part of that. A lot of lower-league clubs look forward to a chance to take on one of these elite Premier League clubs. A lot will make a pay-day that can sustain the club for several seasons.

The third round of the FA Cup is still a special day to a lot of lower-league clubs who make it through. Is it too much to ask these to take part in the oldest cup competition in the world without having to change it, just to suit the privileged few.

And fans of the big clubs, so if you have to sit on your sofa and watch a weakened version of your team face a lower-league club then either watch (coz you’re a fan) or don’t (coz you’re a glory hunter). Just quit your whinging.

Try following your local club if you want to understand what the FA Cup is about.
Mighty (rant over) Mariner


…woah there Joe LFC.

Fine, the FA Cup can’t claim to be the best cup competition while there’s the World Cup and the play-off rounds of the Champions League but don’t slag it off because the Champions League is quality throughout. Let’s be honest the first round of the Champions League usually only has two good teams in each group which means on any match day their is one passable game and one you might be interested in because your team is in it. To prove my point I’m very sure you didn’t watch the mighty Ludogrets vs Basel (that was an actual Champions :eague game).

Similarly in the bestest league in the world for the first half of the season most of everyone’s interest is in the games between the big six.

And why would you not care about watching your reserves once in a while play for your first team in a major cup competion? This is the only way you can find out whether your team has depth. I believe by the fifth round everyone will start playing their first teams.i It’s also a chance to have a pop at fans of opposing teams who falter (like Liverpool fans goading Evertonians this week)

Stop whining and support your club.
Timi, MUFC


The TV coverage didn’t help
There were some very interesting points made about the FA Cup in an excellent 16 Conclusions article. Despite WBA’s miserable record in the FA Cup during my lifetime with a sole semi-final appearance in 2008 it’s a tournament I’ve always enjoyed. Admittedly it doesn’t hold quite the same glamour as it did growing up in the 80s and 90s but I look forward to the games nonetheless. For all the talk of Premier League clubs not taking things seriously I don’t think that applies to Tony Pulis’s men. It was one of the best atmospheres I can remember at The Hawthorns for a cup tie in recent years with Derby bringing a very good away support. Albion made a couple of changes with Foster rested and Brunt and Evans having knocks but it was near a full-strength team. And Albion really went for it. I can’t really place blame at the door of Pulis or the players for the defeat. It’s just one of those games where we couldn’t quite break the opposition down after going behind despite being camped in their half for large parts of the second half with numerous balls being pumped and crossed into the Derby box. Darren Bent’s goal was an utter stunner for them. Probably the best finish I’ve seen at our place this season.

I think for those who chose to follow the cup on TV though I can imagine it didn’t really show the competition in a good light. Traditionally games between a couple of big clubs drawn together or ones where there is a chance of a giant killing were always picked. Now the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal or Liverpool are shown regardless of who the opposition are and whether they are home or away. I had the Tottenham-Villa game on in the background yesterday and it was a complete non-event from the bits I saw. I can’t imagine any neutrals could have had any really interest in the game or sought any enjoyment from watching a lower division team being taken apart by one of the big boys. The same goes for the Man Utd game. Admittedly the fixtures for the third round didn’t really throw up many potential classics for tv to show but if the BBC and BT are to try to talk up ‘the magic of the FA Cup’ then surely giving more coverage to non-league sides who epitomise the whole spirit of the competition would be a good way forward.
George, Birmingham


Liking the play-off idea
Seeing Timi’s opinion about how to make the FA Cup great again was actually a nice early Monday morning read, specially his one point:

‘The winners get to have a play-off with the fourth-place team in the league for that Champions League spot.’

Couldn’t agree more with that, it would certainly give good reason for teams to stop fielding such weak teams, add some real incentive to win the cup, whilst also meaning Arsenal won’t be guaranteed a spot in the Champions League every season.
Mike Clewer, CFC (With that idea I wonder how far Wigan would’ve gone in the Champions League after winning the cup against City)


New Year wishes for Tottenham
I wrote this a week ago and never bothered sending it, but this weekend’s FA Cup performance has prompted me to send it after all. It’s My New Year Wishes for Spurs. There are only three:

1) I love Mauricio Pochettino. He’s an outstanding coach, he’s respectful of opponents, he doesn’t rail against referees or court controversy, and answers questions in interviews as straightforwardly as possible. He clearly isn’t the typical high-functioning sociopath most top managers seem to be. He’s transformed the mentality at the club and the players seem to love him. But could he please, maybe just for the rest of this season, concentrate on the competition Spurs happen to be playing that day, instead of constantly looking at other matches coming up?

Last season we regularly put out weakened teams in the League Cup (against Arsenal of all people), FA Cup and the Europa League. We put out a team of under-5s against Liverpool in the League Cup this season. We then sacrificed a Champions League match because we had a game that weekend which might help us back next season into the competition we’d just surrendered our way out of. And now this weekend’s FA Cup line-up: another turgid display against mediocre opposition simply because the best players were all rested.

Yes, I know, it’s as fashionable to dismiss ‘lesser’ competitions because we need to focus on the EPL as it is to witter on about net spend. Youngsters need to be given a chance. Yadda yadda. But football’s about trying to bloody win stuff. Fans like winning stuff. Players like winning stuff. Realistically, we’re not going to win the EPL this season or any time soon (yeah, yeah, the stadium’s being built, after which we’ll spend like Shanghai SIPG). And after years of supporting a truly rubbish team (I was there in the Gerry Francis years) I’m happy with where we are at the moment. So could we at least have a proper go at trying to win the FA Cup or the Europa League, and at least mix up the team selections a teensy bit more?

2) Daniel Levy to stop trying to live up to his self-aggrandising reputation as a ‘hard bargainer’ in the transfer windows and — if he is interested in a player — just get it done in good time. You know, like Leicester just did with Ndidi. Rather than sticking to his usual M.O., and ringing up one minute before the deadline, with a derisory offer, or with an offer that suddenly introduces more niggly little demands and pisses the other team off, so that the deal falls through.

Dan, mate: clubs know what you’re going to try — BECAUSE YOU DO IT EVERY TIME. Seriously, what fabulous last-second deals have you done lately? You want the player. The other club may or may not want to sell, and will also need time to get a replacement if they’re selling reluctantly. That means they pretty much decide the price, within reason. “Haha! You want £35m — but I’m only going to offer £7m! And only £4m of that now and the rest spread over their lifetime…what do you say to THAT, eh? Ha-HAH! Look. there’s only 20 minutes to go to seel him! HaHAH! What say you to THAT!” is only ever likely to prompt a “Well… I suppose we’ll keep him then.” Has it EVER worked, Dan? Look how well that (baffling) last-minute approach for Moussa Sissoko worked out. £30 million for a lumbering ox that has the build and close-control of a rugby union inside-centre. Because you left it too late to get the one you really wanted.

3) Georges-Kévin N’koudou to get more game time. (Seriously, I wrote this one before last night). He was excellent at Marseille, he’s quick and inventive, he works his arse off and can run at people and scare the bejaysus out of them. Why not give him a chance ahead of, say, the aforementioned Sissoko — and in a proper match, with the proper squad around him (see wish 1, above? Instead of bringing him on with about six minutes to play. In the current 3-4-2-1, he’d struggle to get in over Eriksen and Dele. But if we switch to a 4-2-3-1 like last season, with the three switching around, he could certainly have a go at Lamela’s role.

That’s all — happy new year!
Daisy ‘Sideways Harry Winks may be ‘one of our own’ but I can’t see how he’s any better than Ryan Mason and really don’t get what all the fuss is about’ Fraczek


One more for the Winners
Great winners
and losers this morning. I’d just like to throw one more on the pile, Joe Gomez.

Liverpool didn’t get the result they were looking for but it’s been a long road back for the young center back. It was great to see him back on the pitch.
Brian (buzzing for the week ahead) LFC


We don’t mind paying for West Ham japes
Earlier this season I wrote in complaining about the poor value for the tax payer of West Ham’s move into the Olympic Stadium.

I would like to retract my comments – the comedy value of the London Stadium is now second to none.

Another question for F365 readers – do you know of any other set of fans more miserable than they win than Arsenal’s? We won in the last minute but you wouldn’t know it watching the misery guts on Arsenal Fan TV. We don’t have a God-given right to be in round four you know. Cheer up you miserable sods!
Graham Simons, Happy Gooner, Norf London


Big-ups to Colchester
In these days of sackings and short term-ism I think Colchester United should be praised for keeping their nerve. Less than two months ago they looked like they were in freefall, having failed to win for the 13th consecutive game. The fans were calling for change, the local press were critical, even the players were saying it was a shambles. The chairman insisted that positive signs were there, and the manager was still the right man. No-one believed him. Surely the next loss would be the last straw. But Col U won the next match. And the next. And now have won seven and drawn one of their last eight. The manager has just won the Manager of the Month award.

This weekend they moved into the play-off places by beating a very impressive Carlisle side 4-1. The player who said they were a shambles? He scored a hat-trick!

It is just nice to see a club getting rewarded for not opting for the quick fix but for a change standing by their man. Well done CUFC.
Mr G from Essex


Does Merse have a point?
Having read what Paul Merson has said regarding the lack of British managers in the Prem, I do think he has a point that British managers regularly get overlooked for top jobs.

Now now. Before anyone presumes this is going to be xenophobic towards foreign managers; it really isn’t. It’s more a look at the clubs in the Prem and why foreign managers get a chance.

The Premier League is a cash cow. Advertised by some as the greatest league in the world, there is a self-absorbed perspective from owners of Prem clubs that this is the Holy Land of football. With that, if any of those clubs require a new manager, they would prefer someone who has experience of managing at the top level. Most of the foreign managers who are hired, have come from teams in the top division of their respective/or previously managed their country.

Does that mean British managers are less qualified to coach? Does that mean that foreign managers are instantly better qualified? No, but to simplify; it’s because British managers lack, in the club owners eyes, the required experience of managing top-flight football.

Is that fair? No. It’s not the British coaches’ fault they haven’t had the chance to coach in the Premier League, but that doesn’t stop them from coaching abroad.

I believe the issues with ‘foreign influxes’ of manager and players is because they have tried to master their craft elsewhere before the Premier League. Just because you are British, it does not give you an entitlement to be first in line when a position becomes available in the Premier League.

Personally, (and it’s something I am looking at doing myself as a football coach) I would like to see more British coaches and managers gain experience abroad. Try their hand in a different league, a different culture. Hodgson did it. McClaren and G.Nev tried it (though admittedly not a great example), but they sought after opportunities further afield beyond the Premier League, with the hope that, one day, they could return to manage in the Premier League.

Merse is right in that there aren’t enough British managers in the Premier League, but rather than those coaches complain about a lack of opportunity here, perhaps they should seek opportunities abroad and build their reputation on the continent like those ‘bloody foreigners’.
Steve, a realistic Gooner


Johnny and his long words
I like Johnny’s work. I really do. His articles are usually excellent. They are entertaining, present sound arguments, and are well written. Let’s look at his latest F365 article, titled ‘Only Brits can “know” the Premier League…’. Entertaining? Check. Sound argument? Check. Well written? Well, mostly. One paragraph that is in there I found particularly frustrating to understand.

It reads, ‘To put it in more prosaic language, it’s all utter bollocks, and really should have no place in regular football discourse. Where it is held to be a truth, it needs immediate defenestration because it is a smokescreen that obfuscates understanding and promulgates an air of populist xenophobia from which no good can come.’

Hold on what? I have an annoying habit of using long words unnecessarily, but even that was beyond me. While I completely support using the English language to the full, there is a certain point where over-complicating words can come across as pompous and patronizing. I remember reading a George Orwell essay where he said that he tried to write his works as simply as possible, to keep attention, and to come across as being more human.

Anyway, everyone can speak exactly how they want, and who am I to order writers around, telling them to write the way I like it, and to forget about all the other people who may like it exactly the way it is. It’s the fact that a recent edition of Mediawatch criticized a journalist for over-complicating his article, joking that he had got a thesaurus for Christmas. So, as they say, practice what you preach.

This is no doubt the exception that proves the rule, being Johnny is a fantastic writer. So, I can now go back to reading his articles without having to worry about about one poor paragraph, which will trigger me to spend the better part of an hour writing about a non-football related topic to an online football mailbox.

Yeah, this one’s on you Johnny.
Kiwi, NZ, (where else)


Excellent work of late, especially regarding Paul Merson.

I was going to share this with you earlier but didn’t bother as I assumed it would have been picked up. As I haven’t seen it appear on Mediawatch I felt compelled to bring this to your attention so that it (hopefully) gets the wider audience it truly deserves.


All the best.
James Irwin

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