Footballrumours’s Blog

Redknapp courts Hipocrisy
January 26, 2009, 10:33 am
Filed under: FA Cup | Tags: , ,

After watching the FA Cup between Manchester United and Spurs on Saturday I was left with one thought – how Harry Redknapp had changed his spots. After commenting mid-week that he was placing the game down his priority list and would be fielding a below strength team ( and receiving plenty of criticism for those remarks) he turned up with a strong team and went all guns blazing for the win. Had it not been for an unfortunate two minute spell in the first half, Redknapp could well have got that win. In his comments after the game he even admitted that he thought his team was effectively always in contention right up to the end and could easily have earned a reply – but Harry didn’t want that replay did he? Alex Ferguson played no such shenanigans and fielded a very strong looking team – O’Shea, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Ronaldo, Berbatov and Tevez is a formidable line-up.

Manchester United have their own injury worries though with Rooney, Evra, Anderson, Evans, Rafael and now Welbeck and Fabio all injured. But such is their strength in depth that even this high number of casualties should not hamper them.

All these remarks about busy seasons and priorities have at least forced the FA to reconsider their rules for the FA Cup and I expect some radical changes to be brought in by next season. With both Liverpool and Everton now facing an unwanted replay, the FA must consider how to ensure ties in the latter stages of the competition ( when more premiership teams are likely to be involved) can be settled in just one game. Maybe even the semi-finals and final too – I’ve always found an FA Cup Final replay to be a bit of an anti-climax compared to the real deal.  Before long I certainly expect earlier FA Cup rounds to be using a short period of extra time, followed by penalties if required.

All this will limit the revenue-earning opportunities that some lower league clubs thrive on when presented with the chance of a replay (some would say that these clubs may even play for a replay at times ) but let’s be honest, the FA Cup is not about those one or two non-league clubs earning a lucky financial break. It’s about exciting competition with the big-name clubs providing thrilling and committed performances. If over-booked schedules and the worry of injuries and replays serve to prevent that, then the format needs to be resolved quickly.


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