the real fa cup

Are ITV Killing Football?

The first round of the FA Cup sees some fascinating ties. There’s the Kent/Essex tear up that only recently was a Championship clash, Gillingham and Southend are quite evenly matched now still.  There’s the quite lovely York City with their quite bonkers fans hosting a sort-of-fallen-giant of this stage of the competition in Crewe. These two teams have a bit of a history, relatively sizeable followings, are evenly matched and could quite feasibly pass each other in the league this season. Then there is Hereford, clichéd giant-killers of giant-killers at home to lower but stunningly effective and tenacious opposition in Sutton United, the killers to be killed? All have an edge, a fascination.

These are just a few off-the-cuff examples of how ITV could have played this, they could have promoted the romance, the history, the pure unexpected joy of the oldest club cup competition in the World.  But no, they choose Northwich .v. Charlton, Oldham .v. Leeds and Paulton Rovers .v. Norwich. The latter is perhaps one we would have chosen but this is not rose-tinted nostalgia, this is practical and creative planning for a better future and to help the vibrancy of a whole competition not a set wedge of clubs.  This decision is a stunning, witless, cash-pandering piece of scheduling from ITV. Choose the most interesting ties?  No, choose the three biggest clubs in it except Southampton.

This behemoth of banality can only follow their Champions League blueprint and it can only help send the FA Cup the way of the League Cup and the UEFA Cup. TV audiences homogenised to only watch 4 clubs. Well, it keeps costs down and maximises revenue + profit = $$$$$$$$$$  What next? The Premier League? One can perhaps only hope?

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