Coaches playing weakened teams in the FA Cup is damaging the competition.
Brian Glanville: Clubs Need To Respect FA Cup Traditions
Magic of the FA Cup? Let us be rational about it. In the 3rd round ties, club after club put out weakened teams, some making as many as nine changes. Thus creating abundant opportunities for so-called giant killers.
All respect to those teams which took advantage, but the matter should be kept in perspective. All credit to Barnet, a non-League side with long traditions – not least concerning their old Underhill pitch with its fearsome slope – but the Sheffield United team they so dramatically and deservedly beat at Bramall Lane showed no fewer than ten changes from the normal line-up.
Humble Newport County excelled themselves by eliminating Leicester City but would that have happened if Leicester had not expensively left out their most prolific forward, Jamie Vardy?
There was long a rule against putting out weakened teams in the Football League. Today, a manager who makes a flood of FA Cup changes can always take shelter behind the spurious rejoinder that he can choose from a pool of players who are not differentiated.
The FA Cup is a glorious competition, the very first in the history of English football. But it needs to be properly respected even if it would be difficult to establish the necessary criteria. Surely on a statistical basis this should be possible. But I am not optimistic and as things stand I can only see this great competition continue to be undermined, albeit to the benefit of underdogs.
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