Thursday, 23 January 2014

The FA Cup may mean more to AFCB than to Liverpool

In the years before the Premier League it would be unimaginable that the top teams would play weakened teams in FA Cup matches. It was the competition that everyone wanted to win, but these days I'm not so sure. While a good Cup run for AFCB would be exciting and loved by the majority of the clubs' fans, I don't think the Premiership clubs view it in the same light unless they reach the final stages of the competition.

AFCB could have filled the stadium twice over for this game and possibly even more.
I would like to say that all the 92 clubs would like to win the FA Cup. But priorities dictate or rather money. Even for the Cherries a cup run is nice but perhaps not as essential as it was when the club was in League One or Two. If AFCB go out in this fourth round they will have had a couple of FA Cup fixtures and some TV revenue which is not too bad, but a replay at Anfield would be the real money spinner or a win and a good draw in the next round.

But what is in it for Liverpool? The chance to get a few injuries to dent their Premiership title challenge? An opportunity to blood a few younger players? It is certainly not a money spinner for them or their fans to come down to the south coast to a small ground. The problem with the FA Cup for the bigger teams is that it only offers a Europa League spot. It's not a great enough incentive and therefore we can expect a weakened Liverpool team to face the Cherries. The last thing Liverpool will want is a replay.

The problem for the cup is when big teams play weakened teams the giant killings are not such surprises any more. If AFCB win against Liverpool it may grab a few headlines, but will national media care who AFCB would get in the next round? I doubt it, unless it was Man City, Chelsea or Arsenal.

In the top echelons of English football it is the Premier League that has all the status and glory now. Gone are the days of the wall to wall morning coverage of the build up to the FA Cup final. I would never miss a final in my youth but now I have seen so many disappointing finals that I won't always watch it unless there are players of interest that I want to see. That is why it would be good for the FA Cup to see teams like AFCB who have never made it to the latter stages of the cup to progress. Our fans still value the cup and all its traditions. It would be the biggest thing in the club's history just to make the semi-final.

I would hope that for some Liverpool fans the FA Cup means as much as it ever did and we hope they bring their singing voices to Dean Court. But I suspect for Liverpool though and the majority of their fans it's seen as an extra competition, an extra few matches, more cost, more chance of injuries and just another final if they get there, probably against one of the other top six Premiership clubs. That's why last year's competition was so refreshing with Wigan picking up the silverware. It was unexpected and good to see, but had other clubs devalued the competition allowing Wigan an easier route to the final? Such decisions as taken by West Ham's Sam Allardyce could provide a good path through for teams like AFCB now, if Championship sides really want to do well in the competition.  

Any one fancy a Nottingham Forest v AFC Bournemouth FA Cup final this year?

In this afternoon's post on Cherry Chimes I'll be asking Antione Zammer, who writes on The Empire of The Kop website for Liverpool fans with its global audience, if the FA Cup still means as much as ever for Liverpool supporters?

1 comment:

  1. Good post. As a Liverpool fan I grew up with the FA cup as my favourite competition. To this day I still love it and feel sad that it is now undervalued by the Premier League teams. I'll be gutted if we field and understrength team and lose Saturday but best of luck to you for the rest of the season.