Debunking reasons to hate the FA Cup
You hear a lot of criticism about the FA Cup not having the prestige it once had. I personally still love the competition and all the surprises it throws up. Here is a quick list of why I think some of the common arguments against the FA Cup are wrong.
#1 - The big clubs only play their second teams!
This is largely true but there are two main reasons why I don't really think this is such a problem. The first is that OBVIOUSLY they are going to have to rotate their teams with the amount of matches that top British clubs have to play. Not doing so would result in an increase in injury and a drop in standard. It just makes practical sense. The second is that the players who don't get to play week in, week out in the Premier League need at least some sort of stage to shine on. Even though you do see some of the big clubs not playing as well, you also see players who exceed expectations when given this opportunity.
#2 - Attendances are awful.
This can be true and you can see some pretty woeful attendances (especially in the early stages). However, I don't think the status of the cup is totally to blame, it is probably largely to do with the fact that attending football matches has already become so bloody expensive that many fans can't afford to attend all the cup matches as well. Also, you do see the flip side to this. For example, yesterday, Huddersfield town set a new club record attendance at their current attendance when Manchester City came to play. These matches are still a huge draw and an excellent cash cow for the 'smaller' clubs.
#3 - Clubs don't care about winning it any more.
When you have a team that is focused on winning the Premier League/Champions League then it may be difficult to care as much about winning the FA Cup. However, tell that to Lincoln City. There are still plenty of teams who put their heart and soul into trying to progress in this competition. Even if you are playing against a rotated squad there is still a huge amount of pride in taking a Premier League scalp and the possibility of even winning the cup could be the highlight of the season for many fans. Scenes like the ones you saw when Lincoln City beat Burnley are one of the times when domestic football has a genuine, emotional pull.