Saturday, 3 December 2011

The FA Cup: is the magic gone?

Fan Poll:
Following on from my previous piece, I thought it apt to ask readers for their opinion, asking: ‘Has the FA Cup lost its magic?’ with the results shown below.

To make this particular entry different from others I have done before, I thought it only right to ask football fans for their reasons for voting the way they did. With a handful of teams from Non-League playing in round two, I was interesting in hearing their views. Added to this are the views of a fan so used to not having to qualify for the cup, so imagine the disappointment when not only their team had to join the preliminary stages, and then not even making the first round proper!
AFC Totton are a club in the Southern League (for those who don’t know, this is the league below the Conference North/South), who face Bristol Rovers on Sunday. Ryan is an AFC Totton fan:
“It’s been a fantastic FA Cup run so far and I’m cautiously optimistic of continuing it for a little while longer against Bristol Rovers. The town is buzzing. Ever since the draw was made, it’s all anyone in Totton is talking about. Totton have never made the first round proper in our 125-year history, so to reach round two this season is incredible; this game will be like our cup final. It’s also the first time we have ever played against Football League opposition in a competitive match AND the first time we’ve ever been on live TV. The financial implications are huge. We’ve already made £40,000 in prize money so far, and the club will receive about £72,000 in TV revenue – big money for a club of our size. Win or lose there will be a real party atmosphere at the Testwood Stadium this Sunday.”
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @Ryn_Bru; as well as the club’s official Twitter feed @AFCTotton, which Ryan runs. Check out his blog for match reports and other Totton related articles.
Another team playing at the weekend are Salisbury City from the Conference South, who face Grimsby Town. Liam is a Salisbury fan:
“Some may say the FA Cup has lost its magic, but come to the Ray Mac and you’ll see that it really hasn’t! After starting our Cup campaign in September, slogging through the qualifying rounds, all of a sudden the city has sparked to life, especially when the word ‘proper’ gets used. It’s amazing how it pulls people in and creates a buzz around the place – it captures the city and gives it that spark that doesn’t happen in the league. This being only the third time we’ve reached the second round means it’s a huge thing for the club and the players involved. Only two-thirds of the squad have been involved in the proper rounds and it’s a great chance for the club to make history. Grimsby Town will be a test but realistically it’s the biggest chance to the make the third round we’ll ever get! It’ll be nice to see a big crowd and decent away support – we haven’t had one of them since our conference days! Forest was great in 2006, and a 1–1draw was deserved… hopefully these lads can go one better and mix it with the big boys!”
You can find Liam on Twitter @LiamSCFC
It’s not been a great time to be a Lincoln City fan of late – the club stared relegation to the Blue Square Premier in May, not only losing Football League status, but also having to qualify for the FA Cup. In the final qualifying round they faced Alfreton Town and after drawing 1–1, they then went on to lose the replay 2–1, meaning they failed to qualify for the Cup for the first time since 1924/25. Karl is a Lincoln City fan, who despite his club’s misfortunes, believes the magic of the cup is still very much alive:
“Having to qualify for the FA Cup this season was very strange, due to the fact it was the first time I’ve had to experience it, what with it being my first season as a Lincoln City supporter outside of the Football League. The qualifying rounds made me realise how much I took for granted that instant first round proper status, having that privilege and not needing to qualify. However, I guess it could have been made harder, particularly given all the other qualifying rounds prior to when we joined. I felt this season was more important than ever to at least make round one – to generate some much needed revenue, and hope for a cup run before reaching one of the big boys. All those dreams were diminished, however, losing at home in the replay 2–1. Even though we didn’t qualify for round one this season, I still love the FA Cup and one day hope to have that dream tie at Old Trafford. In my experience as a lower league fan, there is nothing more exciting than seeing the cup draw on TV on the Sunday waiting in anticipation to see who you get – hoping one of the minnows could cause an upset. I still think the magic of the cup is very much alive, especially by the third round stage with the big boys joining in.”
You can follow Karl on Twitter @Lincoln_Karl

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