JUST imagine (go on, let your imagination run riot) that Sheffield Wednesday get a draw at Birmingham City tomorrow in the FA Cup.
So, that’s a nice replay to look forward to, a bit of excitement, a lift at a time when the club needs one, a bit more cash and still the possibility of one of those memorable replay nights so many clubs enjoy - and so many of us fans have enjoyed wherever over the years.
But, in the name of goodness knows what, somebody has raised the crazy idea again of doing away with replays.
All the above, and more, would be gone and, with it, a great part of our football heritage if this and other ideas are allowed to come to fruition.
Yes, let’s have progress by all means but at what cost?
For the sake of the whole of football, it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Remember, the FA Cup belongs not to the elite but the whole of football from grass roots clubs down near the bottom of the pyramid, Hallam, Parkgate, Dinnington etc. right through to the Premier League giants - from where, I reckon, these “ideas” are stemming.
Of course, the TV people want their bit too and they are proposing a 5.30 kick off for the FA Cup Final.
That’s it, spoil Saturday night for the travelling fans and those officials and players from clubs at all levels of the game who regard the chance of going to the final as the season’s pinnacle and some reward for all their hard work during a season.
Many would be left wondering about late trains back to various parts of the country.
One senses the hand of the Premier League mighty and others on all this. More and more you can see the way they intend the game to go.
Let’s use an analogy of the four big supermarkets. How they would like it if every shop was shut down and the only place you can really do your shopping is...
Same for football’s giants and those running these big businesses. Would they really care if football folded completely below, say, The Championship? Where then would you go for your football?
Do away with the FA Cup and the Carling Cup and thus get a winter break. And help those competing in Europe.
Yeh, they’ll have to put up with those clubs trying to survive in the Premier League but they’d tolerate that.
No replays means no (possible) extra fixtures so clearly that’s attractive to those clubs. But another potentially damaging financial blow to the smaller clubs too. Still who cares about them?
There’s talk of seeding it. Why? Well, that means more chance of the top teams getting through and, therefore, makes it more attractive to the TV people, to sponsors, in the later stages. Fancy, as happened this year, Man Utd and Liverpool meeting in the third round so one got knocked out.
The FA Cup has, supposedly, been losing its magic for decades. I saw a 1986 article the other day that said so!
The grand plan of the game’s increasingly wealthy is to ensure everything is focused on them and to hell with everyone else.
It shouldn’t be allowed to start by scrapping FA Cup replays.
n I ENJOY listening to Doncaster boss Sean O’Driscoll, one of the game’s deep thinkers, talking about the game.
But he’d not a deal to say after his side’s 6-0 home defeat by Ipswich on Tuesday.
At the after-match press conference he began: “First stupid question then, come on.” before adding “Come on, ask me something I can answer” before following up with “Right, see ya”. And he left the room thus bringing proceedings to a close.
n ELSEWHERE you may have noted Rotherham United are on an unusual scoring sequence whereby their last four winning home games have seen them score 5, then 4, then 3 then, on Tuesday, 2. Tomorrow , then, should be 1.
On Wednesday morning at 6.30, the last record of a programme on Radio Two was Manfred Mann’s ‘60s hit 5-4-3-2-1.