Opinion - Why the FA Cup still matters so much

Andy Edgeworth
Andy Edgeworth

THE FA Cup never fails to amaze every season and as if it were destined, the two balls left in the bowl on Sunday were the finalists last year.

I am not proud enough to admit I was absolutely devastated that City lost and went down to Wembley with that misplaced confidence that we would win easily; the confidence that having being brought up watching City struggle to almost comical levels that I know I should never have allowed to get the better of me.

But it did and fate decreed – as it always does – that just because I got cocky that I was due to be brought down a peg or two and boy did that happen. It’s the Manchester City way.

I am constantly reminded of the FA Cup on an almost hourly basis in the office – and rightly so.

And it is because of this that a growing trend of so called ‘experts’ are talking absolute tosh when they talk about Wigan fans swapping the FA Cup for a place in the Premier League.

Experts such as Ian ‘the moose’ Abrahams – a West Ham fan of all people – telling people that the cup run wasn’t worth it.

Yes it was and always will be.

When City won the Premier League with the last kick of the season will go down as my greatest moment as a fan. Before that it was when Yaya Toure scored the winner the season before in the FA Cup final against Stoke.

And before that it was Paul Dickov scoring against Gillingham to take us back to the now Championship. It wasn’t finishing fourth three season ago to secure Champions League football.

And it wasn’t Paulo Wanchope’s goal against Newcastle in 2004 that guaranteed our Premier League survival for another season. And as good as it was, it wasn’t even our 6-1 win at Old Trafford. It was and always will be City’s trophy wins.

That is what fans crave. And that is why I still care. City go to Wembley in two weeks time to play Sunderland in the League Cup. Try telling their fans it doesn’t mean anything - it does. I grew up supporting a team with no hope of ever winning anything until a rich bloke from the Middle East intervened. I know it does mean something and that is why to real fans, the FA Cup, the League Cup and any other cup is important because winning something is everything.

The Premier League is great, but ask any Sunderland fan which they would rather – winning a trophy for the first time since 1973 or staying in the Premier League. There is no contest for me – and every Latics fan, I think, will agree.

Wigan fans reacted with disbelief when the draw was made and City at the Etihad came out.

The chances of City losing are probably slimmer than they were in May, but as we all saw last year, you never know.

Even if the bookies are right and City do win at a canter any talk of revenge is misplaced. How can it be classed as revenge? There will be no bringing back that cup last year.

Yes City are lucky enough to be challenging for trophies most years now, but I’d still want us to win. It does matter to fans.

Somebody pointed out that when this game goes ahead in three weeks time that City and Wigan will have met four times within the last calendar year – and five managers will have overseen it – it’s a funny old game.