FA CUP OWES SO MUCH TO LEAGUE

The Football League Paper - - NEIL WARNOCK -

SO much for me be­ing a top tipster! I thought we’d be lucky to see a cor­ner kick in last week’s semi­fi­nal be­tween Sh­effield United and Hull, let alone a goal.

In the end, it was mayhem – eight goals, mis­takes and chances ga­lore. Af­ter I’d said how de­fen­sive they both were, it was the de­fences who let their sides down.

I’ve never seen United as open at the back un­der Nigel Clough and like­wise I’ve never seen Hull look such a mess as they were in the first half.

It just shows you what Wem­b­ley and the FA Cup does to people.The man­agers must have been curs­ing but it was bril­liant to watch.

In fact both clubs did them­selves and the FA Cup the power of good, not just with the spec­ta­cle they put on but in the way they con­ducted them­selves.

Be­fore and af­ter the game, both sets of fans in­ter­min­gled and there wasn’t a hint of trou­ble or an­i­mos­ity. It re­minded me of how foot­ball used to be and it was a real credit to York­shire.

And let’s not for­get Wi­gan, who put in such a bril­liant ef­fort against Ar­se­nal in the other semi. They were spot on for 80 min­utes, but as so of­ten hap­pens, all their best-laid plans were un­done by a mis-kick that gave Ar­se­nal a late equaliser. Af­ter that, well… let’s not men­tion the penal­ties.

All in all, I think the Foot­ball League has done the FA Cup no end of credit this sea­son. People ac­cuse man­agers of be­lit­tling the Cup, but I don’t think you’ll find many in the Foot­ball League who don’t take it se­ri­ously.

Just ask Man City, As­ton Villa or Cardiff, who all found to their cost how im­por­tant it was to Wi­gan and Sh­effield United.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

WHAT A START: Jose Bax­ter af­ter scor­ing for Sh­effield United at Wem­b­ley

IN­JURED: Doug Loft

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