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Magic of the FA Cup is still alive and kicking + Video
3:00pm Wednesday 19th February 2014 in Sport
Some refer to the ‘magic of the Cup’, while others speak of the ‘romance of the Cup’.
Whichever one you prefer the fact remains that there is something special about the FA Cup.
This year there are a few possible fairytale stories left because as well as five Premier League teams, there are four Championship teams and one League One club still involved ahead of the quarter-finals.
Last year we saw the David and Goliath Cup final between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City, with Wigan playing the role of David to complete the giant-killing and lift the cup.
This year’s quarter-final draw gives us a re-run of last year’s final, as Wigan go to the Etihad Stadium to try to repeat last year’s shock result. We could get a ‘Steel City’ quarter-final clash if the blue half of Sheffield can overcome Charlton Athletic.
The last time there was a Sheffield derby in this famous competition, was back in 1993 when both teams were in the Premiership.
It was Sheffield Wednesday who took the honours that day and more importantly, the bragging rights of the city In the tie of the round, Premier League high-fliers Everton take on title contenders Arsenal, who beat the other Merseyside giants, Liverpool, on Sunday. Everton provide the possibility of a brilliant story because if they happen to lift the Cup, then their boss, Roberto Martinez, will become the first manager to win it in successive years with two different clubs.
That would be a great achievement and because he comes across so well in all his interviews, you can’t help but want him to do it.
Well, I do now that my old club, Chelsea, are out of the competition. Every team left in can now see themselves in the final – it is such a realistic possibility, being only two wins away.
Chairmen, managers, players and fans are hoping for the easy route, all wanting to be drawn against the weakest team while praying to avoid the strongest.
Only a minnow hoping for a glamorous day out and huge gate receipts will want to be paired with a Premiership giant now.
I also think due to the financial rewards of winning the Cup – it doesn’t compare to those of the Premier League or Champions League – clubs have to prioritise accordingly.
It doesn’t mean they don’t want to win it, but if given a choice, then the Premier League and Champions League take precedence. I love the FA Cup, but unfortunately I was injured when Chelsea beat Middlesbrough to win it in 1997 under Ruud Gullit.
During the club dinner celebrations, everyone was taking pictures with the Cup, but I declined, vowing to only touch it and be photographed with it when I had won it.
To this day I haven’t touched it, nor do I have a picture with it.
I don’t regret that as at the time it was the motivation I used to try and win it.
I never did, and a semi-final defeat against Manchester United was the closest I got in the end.
As well as talent and hard work, there is a lot of luck needed to get to an FA Cup final, let alone win it. I look forward to some more FA Cup magic and to see the next storyline unfold.