We mean Fifth Round of course but the remaining teams really are a rag-tag bag of miscreants, villains, love rats and pragmatists. This is what’s become of the FA Cup?
John Terry won’t be playing this week, he has a ‘mercy trip’ to take, a ‘love flight’ to board to ‘redemption town’. Or something. Neither will cocktographer team mate Cashley be present, he’s injured. Prof-baiting German, Michael Ballack, will be, as will coin-throwing hitman, Didier Drogba. Lovely. These chaps will be up against tax-dodging, fish-loving, Leeds-killing Peter Ridsdale’s bankrupt Bluebirds, whose line is led by bet-mongering hotshot Michael Chopra.
In other news the points-deducted, payment-dodging super Eagles take on the Villains, who as yet appear to have actually done nothing Villainous. This is fabulous but we haven’t yet mentioned the best tie. -10 Saints are spending million upon million on 3rd tier players in a bid to get up the table that they find themselves in thanks to previous overspending and a current points deduction for going in to administration. They will be playing their neighbours [ahem] Portsmouth. I see no point going any further, you all know …
We haven’t yet mentioned Notts County. We haven’t mentioned Spurs, gloriously profitable before the Redknapp era and maybe still. However, this is the alleged tax fraudster Harry Redknapp. OK, most of these folk/teams have not been prosecuted or done anything illegal but slung mud sticks fast and what right do the ones who have been, or will be, prosecuted have to besmirch the auguste name of the FA Cup by lauding over it with their tarnished goods?
Well, there’s a thought. Fines, points deductions, transfer embargoes, even arrest, nothing seems to stop the relentless do badders. What about banning teams in administration from the FA Cup. A deterrent? Hmmm … Prize money for winning the tournament is £3.4mill. This doesn’t include TV cash of course. Seems a lot of money to be refused access to. Having said that, the earlier ‘big’ rounds are but 6 figures. Is the loss of perhaps just one game and 100k much of a deterrent? It’s all a thought. A flawed thought but a thought nonetheless.
5th Round Ties: Chelsea .v. Cardiff, Derby .v. Brum, ManC .v. Stoke, Reading .v. WBA, Soton .v. Pompey, Bolton .v. Spurs, Palace .v. Villa, Fulham .v. Notts Co