Monday, January 10, 2011

Crawley Town is why you watch the F.A Cup

I'll be the first to admit I don't know that much about non league club Crawley Town. In fact though my travels through England I've never been anywhere close to Crawley, but I do know they just beat Derby County to progress to the 4th round of the F.A Cup. I know I probably have some disappointed and slightly embarrassed cousins in the midlands right now, but even they will admit the thrill of a possible upset in this knockout cup is enthralling.

Craig McAllister opened the scoring for CrawleyWith their 2-1 win over the Championship side, Crawley Town is the lowest ranked team left in the tournament. Many have written of the F.A Cup as a tournament with a glorious past but has lost some of its lustre in the last decade. When looking at the past 10 years it's hard to argue with a lot of the big clubs fielding weaken squads in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Plus over the last decade as money becomes more prevalent in the game it has become increasingly harder for smaller clubs to compete and move further into the later rounds. Millwall in 04 and Cardiff City four years later were the only clubs outside the Premier League to make the final.

However you cannot say those runs were not exciting not just for the clubs supporters, but for the neutrals as well. Reality dictates that the big clubs with deep squads will make the final, but the tradition of the 3rd round where the top sides enter the bracket and having "their day out" is magical. It's something we lack here in Canada. I know we're currently trying to build up the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, but with only a hand full of clubs involved it makes it hard to embrace it as a serious cup competition.

The Cup represents a hope that your club could beat a giant in the game, like a Newcastle, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal etc... The victory by Crawley Town is not by any means the biggest upset of all time but it is what this tournament is all about, dreams...hope and the unpredictability of football.


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