This football fan despairs of the increasing efforts by the wealthier clubs to get rid of FA Cup replays, writes Vernon Grant.
Just listening to what a replay at Anfield will mean for League 1 Shrewsbury Town confirms that, for those outside the top two divisions, a Cup replay against a big club can bring in enough cash to make so many improvements. It can be a lifeline.
The top clubs, of course, would get rid of the League Cup and the FA Cup if only they could. They want more Champions League games and a Premier League reduced to 18 clubs at the most. Champions League games equals greater income. Playing Shrewsbury at home on Tuesday night does nothing for the finances of a club like Liverpool
On Sunday we saw that the old magic of the FA Cup is alive and well. Let it live on.
Shrewsbury playing Liverpool at home and coming from two goals down to earn a draw is what the FA Cup was always supposed to be about. There is no doubt that many clubs are being asked to play too many games in too short a space of time. Doesn’t stop the likes of Manchester United from taking their first team off on lucrative, money spinning, commercially orientated, otherwise pointless sojourns abroad, does it?
I once watched my team play four FA Cup replays against the same opponents, a much bigger club at that time. It was the 1970’s. I found myself travelling to a neutral ground to watch three play offs in the space of a week. The excitement of that Cup run – despite eventually being beaten – lives on with me to this day. It was a fantastic experience.
The Chairman of Shrewsbury Town, Roland Wycherley, has been in his post twenty four years. That in itself displays a level of dedication to a cause that is so rare in football ownership these days. He and everyone who works there deserves a pay day. The players and manager earned it, getting a draw against the World Club and current European Champions.