The lost magic - FA Cup

i_still_miss_fowler

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As a kid I remember loving the FA cup. It was a brilliant competition I would watch every year. There seemed to be big shock every round and a history and prestige that almost matched winning the league.

Who does not remember the white suits, the Owen final, Wimbledon, Alonso's 70 yard goal, Fowler leaning back to score that curling shot against Villa.

It struck me today with Klopp willing to make a point with the winter break (and me not being too bothered) that it really had become a second rate competition. That realisation made me sad. As I remember when TIA first started (nearly 20 years ago when I had a different name) arguing FA cup more important than Uefa cup. Back when FA cup final was major event and it was broadcast world wide.

The thing is it could easily be thought of arrogant big club mentality dismissing smaller compitetion to prioritize main objectives. But I don't think it really is that.

Shocks are not that big a deal as the first thought are, yeah but they only played kids or the reserves. The spectre of watching game on TV no longer a big deal, the prize of playing at Wembley not longer that big nor the prestige or prize money of winning.

Is the magic of winning the FA cup lost for good ? Is its just us (being lucky to dismiss it) ? Can it ever be revived.

Something needs to be done as it seems to be becoming another league cup. A trophy where no one except the winners remembers who won it.
 

ptt

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As a kid I remember loving the FA cup. It was a brilliant competition I would watch every year. There seemed to be big shock every round and a history and prestige that almost matched winning the league.

Who does not remember the white suits, the Owen final, Wimbledon, Alonso's 70 yard goal, Fowler leaning back to score that curling shot against Villa.

It struck me today with Klopp willing to make a point with the winter break (and me not being too bothered) that it really had become a second rate competition. That realisation made me sad. As I remember when TIA first started (nearly 20 years ago when I had a different name) arguing FA cup more important than Uefa cup. Back when FA cup final was major event and it was broadcast world wide.

The thing is it could easily be thought of arrogant big club mentality dismissing smaller compitetion to prioritize main objectives. But I don't think it really is that.

Shocks are not that big a deal as the first thought are, yeah but they only played kids or the reserves. The spectre of watching game on TV no longer a big deal, the prize of playing at Wembley not longer that big nor the prestige or prize money of winning.

Is the magic of winning the FA cup lost for good ? Is its just us (being lucky to dismiss it) ? Can it ever be revived.

Something needs to be done as it seems to be becoming another league cup. A trophy where no one except the winners remembers who won it.
‘86 cup final, Rush smashing the cameras and me watching in the full kit (shorts and socks). Fast forward (and gloss over Cantona). Now? Simple answer? We want the best players, the brightest talents and the biggest signings. FA Cup does not pay that bill, massive European comps do. Capitalism ruined the FA cup but who the fruck cares about Shrewsbury compared with bossing the Champions’ League?
 

Limiescouse

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It's been shit for years. One of my best non-liverpool footballing memories was Keith Houchin's goal in 87 (if you dont automatically know what I mean then youtube it). However, in the last 20 years I don't think I've actually watched a final that we weren't in except for Arsenal vs Hull, and that's because I was already at a bar getting drunk for completely different reasons.

Partly its that I think new Wembley doesnt have anything like the character and charm of old Wembley. I can watch a game at this stadium and not know it is Wembley. Whereas at the old stadium there was somthing about the uniquness of the stands, the way the light shone onto the pitch (especially in May) that made it majestic.

Partly its because it has become a bit of a processional for the top clubs. I think other than Wigan, you have to go back to Everton in 95 to find a team that wasnt part of the CL elite who has won it. We had a run of something like 6 league and cup double in 10 years, indicating that something about the competition had broken

But it's probably mostly just a case of getting old and thinking everything is meh.
 

Red_Jedi

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‘86 cup final, Rush smashing the cameras and me watching in the full kit (shorts and socks). Fast forward (and gloss over Cantona). Now? Simple answer? We want the best players, the brightest talents and the biggest signings. FA Cup does not pay that bill, massive European comps do. Capitalism ruined the FA cup but who the fruck cares about Shrewsbury compared with bossing the Champions’ League?
I read that we will make more in Gate Receipts from the Shrewsbury replay, then we would have if we got to the quarter finals but away matches.
Also, City had less than 40,000 for the FA cup match compared to over 50000 for prem games.

Def lost its magic sadly - but also that it doesn't get a Champions League place - shows its place.

Over the last 10 or so years, I only watched any FA Cup games if we were in it - couldn't care less about it otherwise and don't know who won it when we weren't in it.
 

Arminius

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I actually think the FA Cup is in a better state than it was 10 years ago, but nowhere near what it was 30 years ago. The FA had done some good work rebuilding the broadcast audience in particular, however they managed to cut their own throat with the decision to place the semi-finals there. Improves their short-term bottom line, destroys the cachet of playing at Wembley. Plus, the new Wembley is a soulless barn.

The schedule silliness is simply the FA being moronic - they will talk until they are blue in the face about how the PL makes decisions that are not in the interest of the England team. Here is an instance of the PL actually doing something about those complaints, and the FA simply uses the dates for its own convenience. Sure, it is Liverpool's fault for conceding two goals in the second half, forcing the replay that was scheduled for those dates. But that simply underscores that the FA has not bought into the idea of a winter break that they have elsewhere been suggesting the lack of is crippling their international competitiveness.
 

Billy Biskix

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The best way to revitalise the FA Cup would be to ditch the League Cup. That's the real problem. Having a double-legged semi final of that competition inbetween the 3rd and 4th rounds of the FA Cup immediately following a packed Christmas league schedule is madness. Just have one cup competition with the rounds spread out more evenly through the season.
 

Zinedine Biscan

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I'm fussed about it if we win it, not remotely arsed if we don't. It's been our third priority for nearly as long as I can remember, and mostly all that interests me about it is having a few games where we can give our promising kids some experience.
 

FilthyBloke

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I think a big reason is money.
The good old days were before SKY and the premier league riches. As a club, which is somebody’s business, you can stay in the premier league and guarantee yourself hundreds of millions. Or you can go on a cup run and risk injury to your best players and end up going down. Or missing top 4 etc.
I think I read that the prize money for winning the fa cup and league cup combined is the same as finishing two places higher in the league than you did. So if you win the cup double and finish 15th, you earn about the same as finishing 13th and winning nothing.

I think if the FA cup winners had to face the team that finished 4th for the right to qualify for champions league it would add incentive. But as it stands only a Europa league place is offered.

Also it doesn’t help with the BBC harking on about the ‘magic’ every time a lower league team wins a corner against a premiership reserve team. It’s annoying. Everything about it feels forced.

Personally I think it (along with the league cup) needs to sort out a different path for its fixtures and maybe start them earlier. Or offer a billion quid prize money. Clubs could also charge a lot less considering it’s a reserve team. Scrap replays. Have VAR or don’t have VAR.

I used to love the competition but like many, now I don’t care.
 

Chewbazza

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Some thoughts that might just be ramblings


The Owen final was great, the West Ham final was memorable, but we've only been in once since and we lost, I don't remember anything about it.

We've been nowhere near since Klopp arrived, yet we've been in three European finals. The league has been the priority for the last two years, and we look likely to finally land it this year.

When we were nowhere near fighting for the top honours, the fa and even league cup were important, but now they are lesser priorities. If we actually reach a final I'm sure it will be important to us. Look how important the Club World Championship felt when we finally won it. It happens every year, but we only care when it's actually happening.


With regards to the wider competition when we're not involved, as @Mascot88 alluded to in the Shrewsbury game, there is a tendency from all and sundry to force the 'magic of the fa cup' to be more magical than it actually is.

When the 'magic' happens naturally, it's a good thing, when the refs are essentially match fixing and the pundits are lapping it up, then it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

Ultimately it is down to money though.
 

Dave-D

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The problem is nobody takes it seriously. Top PL team have Europe to worry about, mid PL team are either trying to break into top six or making sure they don’t end up fighting relegation and the bottom teams want to stay in the league. The championship is the same but change Europe for promotion.
The prize money is a drop in the ocean for any PL team and promoted Championship teams as well.
 

Arminius

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Give the winner (or losing finalist potentially) the fourth Champions League spot and watch how relevant it suddenly becomes!
Cannot happen though - UEFA has been firmly against giving CL spots to Cup positions, and in fact is the reason why the league cup runners-up no longer get into the EL if the winner is in the CL. If you look at the history of those teams, the position is not surprising.
 

redbj

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the more i think on it, the more i like my idea that an 18 man squad is named at round three and cannot be changed bar the most extreme circumstances.

that way, if Klopp plays the kids in round three, then he has to play them in the final..... the likes of mid table premier league clubs and below then have a real chance at it.

it means you cant 'opt in' once you bumble your way to the semis, you either take it serious in Jan, or you don't.

i would also make the league cup an under 23 competition for premier league teams.
 

redbj

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, the way the light shone onto the pitch (especially in May) that made it majestic.
so spot on.....until you said it, i didnt even think about it, but its in every great FA cup final memory....i knew it, without knowing it.....you cant capture it and market it, you cant plan for it, but the way that sunlight shone through, majestic is the perfect word.
 

RedYank

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So fantastic to see historical and traditional views from the quite novice perch over here. I have been watching the FA now perhaps the way many watched in the past: with real interest and excitement. Haven't had the many years of seeing it go from great to not-so-great I guess.

Sort of how over the years I have lost interest in the NFL over here. It is not the same sport I grew up with--it is worn out, and just papered over with the money and the glitz.
 

Gone Kloppo

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Give the winner (or losing finalist potentially) the fourth Champions League spot and watch how relevant it suddenly becomes!
That would effectively turn the FA Cup into the League Cup as every second, third,fourth division club will be squeezed out of the comp by superior clubs taking it seriously.
 

Hope in your heart

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Klopp's decision to play the boys is entirely justified imo. The interesting thing is that his interview has now created a national discussion about it. He's getting a lot of undeserved stick of course, but he has put the finger on where it hurts. The FA and the PL are now shown up for what we know they are since years: a disorganised bunch of people who aren't even able to coordinate themselves and to take coherent decisions. No-one can take this seriously anymore, and as a result, the FA Cup has suffered a lot and gone down in the club's priorities over the last decades.

You want to re-create the magic? It's actually quite easy if you do the right things: make the clubs want it and fight for it 100%, with their first teams. But that will only be achieved with a lot of money at stake, a CL place for the winner (not for the runners-up though) and a reasonable calendar for the fixtures. Until then, it will remain what it has become now: a second-rate competition which doesn't count that much anymore. And that's a huge shame indeed. But somehow, one can't escape the idea that everything has been done to prioritise the league, and the FA Cup has become a bit of the 'poor cousin'.

(...) the new Wembley is a soulless barn. (...)
Yeah, that's a problem indeed. Thew magic of Wembley isn't the same anymore. Another proof that the old mythical stadia should be redeveloped rather than destroyed and rebuilt (thanks again fsg).
 

Gone Kloppo

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To anybody thinking there is any way for the FA Cup to be taken back to its glory days, here's a stat: PL revenues two years ago were £4,818,000,000. Division two was £91,000,000. Or 1.8% of the PL. I don't have the statistics for revenue comparisons over the last 100 years but Im certain the gap grows exponentially.

Now if you toss a carrot in there to make PL teams take it seriously, then it will be more competitive, but only for the top teams. Teams in lower divisions have no hope against a serious PL outfit with the current revenue gaps.
 

Nikola

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I don't mean to sound arrogant because League Cup run in 2012 left me with some of the best LFC-related memories (and it was club's only trophy between 2006 and 2019) of all time but I agree with folks who say that League Cup should be scrapped (or heavily modified) in order to let FA Cup live and restore its former glories. That should be the first step, in my opinion, but one potential drawback is that stronger clubs would then be able to use stronger teams because of less fixture congestion.

Other steps should be something like scrapping replays from fourth round, guiding the draw so that lower league clubs get the right to host the games against PL opposition at least (and maybe even Championship opposition), increasing the reward money significantly but distributing much more of it to lower league clubs based on certain criteria, not using Wembley before the final, potentially considering that final be hosted at some other stadiums if possible (St. James' Park, Villa Park, Old Trafford, even Anfield if it gets expanded - all of them have infinitely better atmosphere than Wembley).
 

rockafella

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Cannot happen though - UEFA has been firmly against giving CL spots to Cup positions, and in fact is the reason why the league cup runners-up no longer get into the EL if the winner is in the CL. If you look at the history of those teams, the position is not surprising.
I may be wrong but I'm pretty certain that the country in question has the right to determine how they allocate the European spots awarded to them.

When we had the fiasco about us winning the CL in 2005 but not qualifying for it (before they'd changed the criteria to ensure winners can defend it), the Premier League said at the time that they wouldn't be entering Liverpool instead of Everton.

Same thing happened a few years before in Spain with Real Madrid. Unsurprisingly, the Spanish league decided to kick out their fourth place team and enter Real instead.
 

Limiescouse

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I may be wrong but I'm pretty certain that the country in question has the right to determine how they allocate the European spots awarded to them.
Only within very narrow limits, with cup runners up now explicitly banned from being given a spot.
 

Mascot88

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Easy solutions to this issue.

1. Remove League Cup participation for those involved in European Competition.

2. Scrap the League Cup two legged semi-final.

3. Premier League teams enter the FA Cup at the fourth round stage, rather than the third.

4. Scrap FA Cup replays, but if lower league clubs are drawn at home they can elect to swap and play away - if they want their big money spinning day at a big stadium they get it, or they can stay where they are.

5. Remove semi finals from Wembley. It’s no good moaning that the FA Cup has been devalued, while also cheapening the showpiece day.


Longer term, and with much greater difficulty, the league structures need to be looked at, with the aim of creating smaller leagues.

The leagues could be adjusted from four divisions, to five smaller ones.

Currently 92 teams are split between four divisions, with 24 in each, apart from the Premier League with 20.

A new league structure could be for four leagues of 18, and a division five of 20. Or Premier League of 18, with four more leagues of 20 (lifting six more clubs from the Conference to compete in fifth division)

This would greatly ease fixture congestion in the Premier League, and allow clubs to properly go at the FA Cup. If lower league clubs need the extra games for financial reasons, then those divisions could operate enhanced play offs involving more teams.
 

Danny_

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The best way to revitalise the FA Cup would be to ditch the League Cup. That's the real problem. Having a double-legged semi final of that competition inbetween the 3rd and 4th rounds of the FA Cup immediately following a packed Christmas league schedule is madness. Just have one cup competition with the rounds spread out more evenly through the season.
That's actually a very good point. I would also add that there should be no replays - just extra time and penalties. I am glad someone has taken a stand on the current format though. Everyone knows that it is shit now. The problem isn't that the mystique is missing. It's that there is almost zero incentive (other than nostalgia for tradition) for big teams to try to win the competition.
 

Danny_

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Easy solutions to this issue.

1. Remove League Cup participation for those involved in European Competition.

2. Scrap the League Cup two legged semi-final.

3. Premier League teams enter the FA Cup at the fourth round stage, rather than the third.

4. Scrap FA Cup replays, but if lower league clubs are drawn at home they can elect to swap and play away - if they want their big money spinning day at a big stadium they get it, or they can stay where they are.

5. Remove semi finals from Wembley. It’s no good moaning that the FA Cup has been devalued, while also cheapening the showpiece day.


Longer term, and with much greater difficulty, the league structures need to be looked at, with the aim of creating smaller leagues.

The leagues could be adjusted from four divisions, to five smaller ones.

Currently 92 teams are split between four divisions, with 24 in each, apart from the Premier League with 20.

A new league structure could be for four leagues of 18, and a division five of 20. Or Premier League of 18, with four more leagues of 20 (lifting six more clubs from the Conference to compete in fifth division)

This would greatly ease fixture congestion in the Premier League, and allow clubs to properly go at the FA Cup. If lower league clubs need the extra games for financial reasons, then those divisions could operate enhanced play offs involving more teams.
Agree with all of this except making the league smaller, especially the PL. Imagine the outcry from the likes of Sheffield United or even Everton if they went down the first year that an extra two relegation places were added to the PL. It's devastating for teams to go down these days. It would be funny though if it happened to Everton (not likely in the next few years with Ancelloti though)
 

Mascot88

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My favourite FA Cup moment was a spirited debate on whether clubs were disrespecting the FA cup on the BBC coverage, mediated by Maneesh Bhasin who was seeking the opinions of their third or fourth choice punditry team.
 

cynicaloldgit

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there should be no replays - just extra time and penalties.
No, no, no... Those precious footballers are too delicate to have to play extra time; the games should go straight to penalties.

But hang on... Penalty shootouts are too stressful an environment for our mollycoddled darlings; whichever team has more followers on Instagram should be declared the winner.

Fucking snowflake generation; the game’s gone soft.
 

Mascot88

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Agree with all of this except making the league smaller, especially the PL. Imagine the outcry from the likes of Sheffield United or even Everton if they went down the first year that an extra two relegation places were added to the PL. It's devastating for teams to go down these days. It would be funny though if it happened to Everton (not likely in the next few years with Ancelloti though)
Yeah, this is true, but manageable with enhanced one off parachute payments.

In all honesty there is no solution to the problems Klopp is raising without some pain somewhere. If we scrap the cup competitions, or devalue them further by encouraging them to become U23 tournaments for the bigger clubs, then then is going to be devastating to smaller clubs.

Of course the real problem here is that there are about 15 separate commercial interests all actively working against each other, from the leagues, national associations, internationals federations, broadcasters, etc. They are all fighting for their slice of the pie.

Getting them all to stop thinking short term and recognising that they are actively damaging the thing that they need to maintain their income is near impossible. For anyone who has read their Garat Harding, it’s a classic Tragedy of the Commons scenario.