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There’s a false and bizarre myth about the FA Cup and the big six clubs

Is it really just the top clubs who don't take it seriously?

The FA Cup has lost it’s mojo.

It’s safe to say the oldest and most prestigious domestic cup competition on the planet doesn’t hold the same prestige it used to.

And, naturally, the Premier League’s elite are being held solely accountable.


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Not a care in the world

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Not a care in the world

The growing gap between the top flight’s top six clubs and the rest is undeniable.

But they are far from the only institutions supposedly showing an unforgivable apathy towards the trophy.

In fact, only two, yes two, of the last 24 FA Cup winners – Wigan and Portsmouth – have come from outside the Premier League’s current top six.

Happier times

Alamy
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Happier times

That’s a pretty dire record.

Of course the top sides, as Man City did when the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker all started in the rout of Rotherham on Sunday, have more strength in depth to utilise.

But this isn’t about them.

Taking it seriously

Reuters
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Taking it seriously

This is about your middle of the range of Premier League clubs, your Leicesters, who turn their noses up at the competition.

Leicester are neither pursuing a Champions League spot nor consumed by the threat of relegation, yet they made a host of changes against League Two Newport County… and lost.

Their fans have already been blessed by a fairytale in recent years but would they really deny another emotional rollercoaster via a decent cup run?

Why does he look like that viral despondent squirrel?

AFP or licensors
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Why does he look like that viral despondent squirrel?

They’re not alone.

Newcastle are undeniably a massive club, yet it’s 50 years this year since they won a trophy of any sort.

They just about forced a replay with Championship side Blackburn on Saturday evening in a performance in keeping with their recent tribulations in the competition.

Since Mike Ashley took over in 2007, the Magpies are yet to surpass the fourth round, including six exits at the first hurdle.

Public enemy number one

AFP or licensors
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Public enemy number one

There is so much toxicity around St James’ Park that would be eased by a show of faith in the FA Cup.

Drop lower and the narrative is much the same.

Ipswich have now lost nine successive third round matches to the likes of Accrington Stanley, Portsmouth, Lincoln and Preston.

Couldn’t arrest a terrible recent record at Ipswich

Reuters
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Couldn’t arrest a terrible recent record at Ipswich

Bournemouth have gone from the bottom of the Football League to the Premier League and there’s been three World Cups since the Tractor Boys last tasted victory in the competition.

QPR’s victory over Leeds on Sunday was the first time they’ve won an FA Cup third round encounter without the need of a replay in 23 years.

Ultimately, it’s a sign of the times.

Love a tin foil FA Cup

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Love a tin foil FA Cup

The FA Cup needs a complete overhaul if it wants to start rivalling league and European football again.

Wigan and Portsmouth can testify to that, with both dropping down at least two divisions since and the latter just about surviving administration.

There’s life in the old cup yet, but the goalposts need moving to turn nostalgia into modern day jubilation.

It’s easy to blame those at the top for it’s demise, but they’re far from the worst offenders.


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