The People’s Cup?

Last season, the FA took great delight in announcing their ‘People’s FA Cup’ competition as part of their ‘Get Inspired’ campaign. FA Chairman Greg Dyke claimed that “Football is everybody’s game and The FA People’s Cup embodies that ethos.” And so it did; what a great day out. Even if I did lose my runner only to watch him slot in the winner in the Quarter-Final.

On Monday, the FA Cup First Round draw, the most magical of competitions, pitted FC United of Manchester at home to Chesterfield. On Wednesday, the day of writing, FC United of Manchester had to release a statement about the tie. At the heart of the statement were two things;

  • The game being put to Monday evening due to it being selected for TV.
  • The competitions rules that states the minimum price for an adult ticket must be £10.

FC United, for those of you who don’t know, are a club born out of the Glazer take over of Manchester United in 2005. They are community owned and democratically run by those owners.

The official club statement said the club had contacted the FA and “refused to agree with the move of our FA Cup 1st round game against Chesterfield to Monday 9 November 2015.” This refusal came based on the clubs ethos that football is for the fans, “without whom the game would not exist”, and a Monday evening game would impact a number of m supporters, of both clubs, to attend. 

Astonishingly, the FA replied and due to ‘FA Cup competition rules’ the game, the FA insist, must be played on the Monday evening. What ‘rules’ might be being applied here? 

Section 4, sub-section b, paragraph 3.

As soon as TV decides who it wants to put on TV the FA must bend over backwards to accommodate them over the fans the game truly matters to.

I find it outrageous that the FA cannot see that football belongs to the fans. Yes, TV and the money it brings has a role to play in the game, but that role is not dictator to all. But, if a clubs founding ethos says that above all the fans come first, even before the riches of TV, then this, at least, should be respected? The BBC surely can find another game to fill the slot? The FA surely can make a stand and say that yes, the game belongs to the fans and not the TV companies? 

In a game where money means success, it is refreshing to see a club built on such beliefs maintain those beliefs in the face of money. It saddens me to see that the club cannot be backed by its facilitating organisation.

Maybe the People’s FA Cup is exactly that; just for the people. And the FA Cup, excuse me, The Emirates FA Cup, isn’t…

Notts County vs Plymouth Argyle

Well, wasn’t that frustrating.

Notts are notoriously poor on Sky. The last two outings have seen us draw 2-2 and lose one manager. In the season we broke all Division 3 records, we still managed to lose away to Peterborough in one of only 5 defeats all seasons. I seem to remember we beat Swindon one night game though, with David Pipe playing majestically at sweeper.
However, overlooking the score line for a moment, Notts were tremendous for 65 minutes. I wasn’t present at York at home, so for me yesterday was the best sustained period of play id seen all season. Mentioning the score line, 1-0 down to a good piece of finishing from Reuben Reid (aided by one poor piece of defending by Gil Swerts) saw Plymouth take a very much ‘against the run of play’ lead.

For me, Notts were truly excellent. Elliot Hewitt and Adam Campbell looked an absolute force down the right, Campbell coming narrow to allow Hewitt to maraud down the wing. Alan Smith won just about every tackle and second ball and Graham Burke looked like he could do something special any second. 

But Notts really were knitted together by Stanley Aborah; wow. Again, but even more so than before; he was unbelievable. Picking passes that hopefully left the Sky summarisers purring; one in particular linking with Hewitt expertly. The one thing Aborah and the rest of the team couldn’t do, was find the final ball. 83% possession in the first 20 minutes of the second half counts for nothing if you can’t get the ball to your £150,000 striker.

For all the football, all the possession, Notts didn’t register too many efforts on target. Then, on 65 minutes, the game changed. Hewitt, on a booking and looking slightly raggedy arse rovers, was substituted for Jon Stead. Stead on; the correct idea. But Hewitt off wasn’t the right idea especially when it meant Aborah, conductor of the orchestra, was shoved to centre half; momentum gone, Notts nullified.

Until 90+4 Notts huffed and puffed but didn’t look remotely like scoring. Plymouth went to bag a second on the break and boo’s rang around Meadow Lane. 

My frustration with Moniz is the fact he’s quite happy to call out the weaknesses of the team, and more often than he should; individuals themselves, but seems unwilling to take much personal responsibility on days like today when his substitutions ruined our chances.

The football was wonderful and we’re not far off a cracking team. I still think we’ll go up but lose to Yeovil; we might not go up with Moniz at the helm.