What’s happened to our beloved English FA Cup? The days where the FA Cup was a competition to win in its own right, the days you draw against your rivals and both teams look at the fixture as if it’s already the final. I feel is slightly dying away. We need to get the competition back to a point where teams from top to bottom want to win it from the start and not only taking it seriously when they reach the latter stages of the competition. If a manager won the Premier League or Champions league would he be sacked without starting as manager the following season? Highly doubt it right? Well, that exact thing happened with Luis Van Gaal in 2016 when in charge of Manchester United. He won the FA Cup and came 5th in the Premier League and was sacked at the end of the season. This shows that the FA Cup on its own is not significant enough for the bigger clubs. And, with the cup winners only receiving £3.6m in prize money and runners up getting £1.8m to put this into context, a team that finishes 20th in the premier league still goes home with 1.9m for their position.
I feel a lot of teams are starting to see the FA Cup as an ‘addition’ to anything they achieve. For example, winning the Premier League is a great season. Premier League along with an FA Cup means you’ve done the double, which adds so much more muscle. With football increasingly becoming about money the FA Cup doesn’t offer much incentive in that department which is making the competition slowly becoming more for the lesser teams. Let’s break it down from a club level perspective…
Teams Aiming For Champions League Qualification
The teams that are aiming to win the league or aiming for a Champions League qualification are usually in and around the positions. So what do you get for winning an FA Cup? some silverware, a place in the Europa League, and £3.6m in prize money. So, really the only incentive for this kind of team is the silverware (which yes should be enough) but in the modern game, it doesn’t seem that way. These teams often play their youngsters or a very weakened side in the opening stages of the competition, how often do you see a manager play a weakened side in the premier league or champions league? if they do it usually down to injuries or fatigue but rarely just to give players game time. Even to get knocked out if the FA Cup
Mid-Table Teams & Europa League Qualification
.The mid-table teams can be anywhere from 6th down to 12th. all these teams will think they have a chance of securing a Europa League qualification so, winning the fa cup is a great way for them to secure that, plus the silverware an FA Cup in the trophy cabinet is a great achievement for any team but a realistic chance at some silverware that holds weight. money wise, again it isn’t an amount for these teams to get excited about in a congested season, you wouldn’t see these teams play a weaker side to the point squad players and youngsters outnumber their first-teamers, which says a lot about how the top 12 clubs see the FA Cup in the modern-day game.
Now, the lower teams nearer the bottom of the premier league, are the teams who take this competition a lot more seriously from the get-go. This is the attitude we need to get back for all of the premier league clubs. The FA Cup will be seen as major silverware for these, an entry into the Europa league would benefit the club financially and the prize money might be a big help towards transfer kitty or wage budgets. So the added extras you get for winning the competition are all of high interest for the teams nearer the bottom and not to forget for every team in the lower leagues.
FA Cup Is Still a Great Competition
The FA Cup still gives a lot to the English game and is far from boring. You get major upsets from lower league teams beating teams in higher leagues and the best teams don’t always win the competition. As we’ve seen with Wigan Athletic, they won the FA Cup and got relegated from the Premier League in the same season.
Lower league teams get the chance to play against football players they looked up to and stadiums they always dreamed of playing in, which are magical moments.
These are the kind of dynamic things the FA Cup involves, it is a very unpredictable and unique competition.
Increase The Prize Money
So what can be done to revitalize the FA Cup so that it is appealing to teams nearer the top of the premier league as it is the teams nearer the bottom and lower leagues? I feel we need to steer away from dishing out lump sums of money and it’s ruining the game large amounts of money are circulating around football it should be given for winning trophies if anything! I think one suggestion could be to increase the prize fund. Money is one thing that could change the approach of all clubs if the kitty was a substantial amount it could prove to be a turning point for the competition
Offer Champions League Qualification For The Winners
Offering a Champions League qualification in reward of winning the FA Cup would certainly have teams making it more of a priority. Just being involved in the Champions League is almost seen as a trophy in the modern game If you ask them a lot of teams would rather finish in the top four positions that win an FA Cup. Silverware should always be the first choice but the fact is a Champions League position provides a lot more revenue it brings to the club in which is good resources for the club to build or invest.
The Engish FA Cup is part of our football tradition and for this reason alone I think it should become a competition that all teams involved take seriously from the jump. This will then be reciprocated by the fans filling out the stadiums on Fa Cup games. I do think over the years the Cup is being perceived less and less like a priority and the games do not seem as competitive. I’ve suggested a couple of adjustments that could be made to bring the FA Cup back to what it once was but what your thoughts and ideas on what could be changed?
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