Giantkillers ruining the magic for everyone
PRESTON North End and Chelsea kicked off the FA Cup fourth round with their Saturday lunchtime clash at Deepdale televised on ITV.
Dennis Wise, essentially representing Chelsea, and Billy Davies, representing Preston, joined Matt Smith in the television studio.
The phrase “magic of the cup” was on the tip of all three’s lips, the unspoken monkey in the room, except that it was frequently spoken.
I personally want Chelsea to beat Preston, just as I would like Tottenham Hotspur to beat Leeds United, Arsenal to beat Stoke City and Manchester City to beat Scunthorpe United in the other televised games.
Manchester United and Liverpool were both dumped out of the cup in round three by lower league opposition.
United’s defeat to Leeds and Liverpool’s defeat to Reading were compelling games of football and how we all loved it when the two most successful clubs in the English game went out.
But there are still five rounds of this FA Cup left.
In 2008 Portsmouth won the FA Cup, after emerging from the semi-finals that only contained one top-flight side.
One of the semi-finalists, Barnsley, knocked out both Liverpool and Chelsea, which got everyone going about the “magic of the cup”.
But then the final against Cardiff City was very, very dull, as were the semi-finals, and it received fewer television viewers than any other final in recent history.
So we love it when the big guns are knocked, but we kind of miss them when they are gone.
On the other hand, good luck to Accrington Stanley.