The FA Cup is dying a painful death with no signs of reviving the magic

The FA Cup has about as much magical quality as a sub-par magician entertaining at a children’s party.

Of course, if you follow Manchester City I’m sure you might not necessarily agree as the Premier League champions landed a domestic treble.

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As of next year the FA Cup returns to free to air television which is good news for Irish and UK viewers who can watch a competition that has struggled to capture the imagination for several years.

“Cup-sets”, “Magic of the FA Cup” are phrases thrown about by TV companies in a desperate attempt to obtain viewers.

This year’s FA Cup final between Manchester City and Watford was surely one of the worst build ups to a marquee final in a very long time.

The BBC tried desperately to aide this dead horse with a bumper broadcast schedule spanning almost the entire day as it has been done in the past.

With the saturation of televised football matches, it seems utterly pointless to drag it out for as long as humanly possible with very little worthwhile analysis other than the tedious debate of whether or not Manchester City can seize the domestic treble or will Watford be able to cause a *sigh* “cup-set”.

Of course, if you’re reading this, you know that City thrashed Watford 6-0 in an embarrassingly lopsided final.

A 90 minute spectacle of the ‘haves vs the have nots’ as the blue side of Manchester tore Watford apart like a group of wealthy piranhas feeding on the scraps of a poverty stricken Watford side who never turned up for the fight.

We all know money plays a big part in the modern game and like it or loathe it, the heavyweights will more than likely win out each and every single time. “Cup-s…”, let’s call them flukes instead.

Flukes happen every now and again with lower league opposition managing to get one over on one of the “big boys” in domestic football.

It’s great for a day out for fans of a lower league team but in reality, why should we care about the FA Cup when the majority of fans don’t care about it either?

The Premier League has become top dog and for a select few, the Champions League has super-ceded that in terms of priority.

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“I hope we rest players because we’ve a big clash coming up midweek” is a common theme amongst fans of Premier League and some Championship clubs so why bother entering it?

I mean, Manchester United made a mockery of England’s prized cup when they pulled out in 2000 favouring the FIFA World Club tournament instead.

Yeah. That happened.

Ticketing has always been an issue for the latter stages of the club with many fans getting priced out and most of the seats thrown to corporate sponsors.

A showpiece littered with empty seats and dignitaries that seemingly don’t care is a really bad look.

Cheaper tickets might actually entice fans back to a competition they have clearly fallen out of love with.

Wembley’s lure has almost diminished given that Tottenham Hotspur played their home games there while their stadium was being built and semi-finals also take place in England’s national stadium.

Maybe bringing back neutral grounds for the semi finals like the good old days might spark some life back into the old girl but it’s a cup that is dying a very painful death.

Perhaps a Champions League place for the winner might ignite some interest but for now, I’ll just have to wait until next season to watch my beloved Newcastle United stumble out in the third round and put the tin foil cup back into the dusty attic for another season.

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Shane Saunders

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