World-famous Cup competition that’s turned into a side-show

Sulley Muntari scoring against Manchester United in the 2007 FA Cup quarter-final
Sulley Muntari scoring against Manchester United in the 2007 FA Cup quarter-final
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Three hundred people appeared in court last night charged with the attempted murder of the FA Cup.

They have taken a world-famous competition and turned it into a poorly-attended sideshow.

The latest daft idea to come out from the FA is to have seedings to keep the top teams from meeting each other too early in the competition.

That would destroy the mystique and romance – and sounds suspiciously like an attempt to cull the competition of unfashionable clubs at the earliest opportunity.

I even heard one soccer snob saying: ‘It’s a good idea. We don’t want Millwall, Portsmouth and Cardiff in the final like we’ve had in recent years.’

Do your homework, sir.

You will find Pompey dumped Manchester United out of the Cup at Old Trafford on their way to the 2008 win.

His research will also reveal that some of the most turgid finals have been between two so-called glamour teams.

Remember the soporific 1996 affair between Manchester United and Liverpool and the 0-0 tedium that was United v Arsenal in 2005?

Then there are the smart alecs who think FA Cup replays should be scrapped because the calendar is too crowded.

Under that ill-conceived plan, Leyton Orient would not be getting a much-needed cash bonanza from a replay at Arsenal, and Notts County would have missed their windfall at Manchester City on Sunday.

The FA started the rot by allowing Manchester United to opt out of the competition to let them play in a meaningless and now defunct world club tournament.

Also in the dock are the Premier League managers who see the competition as a chance to rest their stars and give fringe players a game.

Many supporters look at the lukewarm approach of their clubs to the famous old trophy and think: ‘If they are not bothered about it, why should I be?’

That might explain the pathetic 7,000 crowd which witnessed the Wigan (reserves) v Bolton replay last week.

The problem is that most top-level clubs feel they have bigger fish to fry.

Big teams are chasing the title, a top-four finish or a campaign in the Champions League.

The priority of the rest is to stay in the Premier League, because that’s where the money is.

The glory of the FA Cup could be restored at a stroke by giving a Champions League place to the Wembley winners rather than the team finishing fourth.

But getting the likes of United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs to agree to that would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.