FA Cup win­ners need big re­ward

LET THEM GO FOR CHAMPS LGE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO -

IT IS great to see Brad­ford win­ning at Chelsea. Phil Parkin­son and his team have cer­tainly learned the art of gi­ant-killing and I would not dare to un­der­mine that achieve­ment. It doesn’t mat­ter which team Chelsea put out; it is still a re­mark­able victory.

How­ever, if it was a Johnstone Paint Tro­phy game, the rules would have pre­vented Chelsea from mak­ing nine changes. They would have been forced to play much closer to their regular start­ing XI.

If Brad­ford had beaten that Chelsea team then the achieve­ment would be one notch fur­ther up the achieve­ment chain. And I think that the FA Cup needs a rule like that.

The sig­nif­i­cance of the FA Cup changed when Manch­ester United were al­lowed to miss out to play in the World Club Cham­pi­onship. It was done for the right rea­sons. But from then on, the un­der­ly­ing psy­chol­ogy of the Cup has been that it is of less im­por­tance. That it is OK for other things to take pri­or­ity.

But it isn’t OK. This is the most sig­nif­i­cant club cup com­pe­ti­tion in the world. The FA Cup spreads dreams and ex­cite­ment and it fu­els the evo­lu­tion of clubs.

Come to Steve­nage and look at our mag­nif­i­cent train­ing ground funded by the club’s 2011-12 Cup run.With­out the FA Cup, a small club like ours would never have ac­quired a fa­cil­ity like this that will be part of the re­gional in­fra­struc­ture now for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Sta­tus

We must not un­der­es­ti­mate the value of the FA Cup. And we must pre­serve its sta­tus.

In the past, we have dis­cussed a Euro­pean prize for the win­ners. Here I am dis­cussing sanc­tions. Maybe it is a com­bi­na­tion that is re­quired.

I won­der if the Com­mu­nity Shield should be played be­tween fourth place in the Pre­mier League and the FA Cup win­ners for a Cham­pi­ons League slot? That would sharpen the fo­cus. And in­crease the in­ter­est in the sea­son’s open­ing game.

I don’t like to see Manch­ester City and Chelsea out this early. Both ought to be play­ing in big games later on in the com­pe­ti­tion. Not treat­ing the com­pe­ti­tion lightly and fall­ing at home.

We want the shocks. But we don’t want an FA Cup that loses its sig­nif­i­cance.

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