McCarthy: FA Cup Still Has Its Magic
Tuesday, 14th Jan 2014 06:01
Mick McCarthy says the FA Cup may be less important but it’s not lost its magic. The Blues travel to Preston North End tonight for a third round replay.
“I don’t think it’s lost its magic, it’s lost its sense of importance because of the amount of money that’s in the Premier League,” he said.
Is it time for the FA Cup to follow the Capital One Cup and abandon replays? “Not really. I think they’ve changed the competition so much that it’s lost its lustre somewhat, although that was proven different by some of the big results, Sheffield United winning at Villa, Macclesfield drawing with Sheffield Wednesday. Great games for them.
“Getting a replay is sometimes the lifeblood of those clubs, so I don’t think so. I think they’ve tinkered with it enough and I still remember the final being the best game on the calendar, the last game of the season. It’s a shame that that’s not the case now.
“Preston will be thrilled to have us up there and they’ll be delighted if they can slap us and they’ll be going down to Nottingham Forest, or we’ll be going there if we win. And I think Wigan restored the pride of the FA Cup last year, winning it, it was fantastic.”
He says most Premier League clubs have only one priority: “Winning the FA Cup and getting relegated is just not an issue for any Premier League club.
“I know everybody will say ‘How come, you want to win an FA Cup medal’. I don’t know what you get for winning the FA Cup, about £4.5 million, but you get, what is it, £100 million for being in the Premier League?
“All the self-righteous ones will say you should want to win the FA Cup instead, but it’s just not going to happen. People want to stay in the Premier League.
“My medals mean a lot to me,” he added. “The ones I’ve got from Scotland and the ones I’ve got from leagues and what have you.
“But as a club, did anybody ask Dave Whelan whether he would have swapped the FA Cup for Premier League status? That would be my first question to ask him.
“What they all want to do is win it and stay in the league as well, but unfortunately some of them don’t think they can do that and it’s a balancing act. If they end up winning it and get relegated, it doesn’t sit very well with the accountants.”
Despite fielding what’s again likely to be a far from full-strength side, McCarthy insists that he is looking to make progress in the tournament: “We want to win the game, I want to stay in the FA Cup.
“Are we going to win it? Probably not. I watched Manchester City on Sunday and they’ll tip up and play their U21s and do whatever they want to do. But we want to stay in the FA Cup.
“The game on Tuesday night is important. If we win it, we’ll go and play at Millwall and then think about Nottingham Forest if and when it comes around.”
While he doubts Town will make Wembley in the FA Cup, he says the Blues’ most recent appearance on English football’s greatest stage has whetted his appetite regarding a potential return.
“I watched the 2000 play-off final the other day on Sky and it gets your juices flowing when you see them winning and getting promoted to the Premier League,” he said, before his thoughts turned back to the FA Cup and its decreasing importance.
“It seems bonkers that you can finish sixth in the league, then win a play-off final and it’s bigger than the FA Cup final. But it is.
“You get a trophy for finishing sixth, which is crazy really. It’s just the way it’s gone, it’s sad but a fact of life.”
Photo: Action Images
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