The Thundercliffe Files: cup tired?

Cod Almighty | Article

by Paul Thundercliffe

31 January 2020

The big money clubs are gunning for the domestic cups. Why should they steal our memories?

Thundercliffe Files

Football. Footy. The Match. Nothing quite like it for community, identity and passion. Nothing that can match it for heart, drama and cohesion. 46-game seasons that ebb, flow and ultimately fizzle out by February, but that August optimism can never be deflated.

Among that regular nine-month adventure are the cup competitions. The chance for glory in a one-off game, money-spinning ties and giant-killing shocks. Could Town really "win the cup one day"?

Well if the managers at the top of English football had their way, there wouldn’t be any cups to play in, let alone win. Grumpy Pep reckons that the League Cup should be scrapped while the Kop’s Klopp wants replays in the FA Cup gone too.
Jurgen’s reasoning is supported by the scaffold of a winter break: a fortnight sacrosanct for him and his millionaires. He's playing the kids and won't even be there when Shrewsbury have another go next week. The replay is an inconvenience in a world of superstar players and multi-million pound matches.

No League Cup? Miracle. Nights that are floodlit with joy and emotion, our eyes and hearts full of awe and wonder, disappearing down a Premier League plughole.

You feel for Shrewsbury and their fans who will have a diluted experience. Any victory at Anfield will be muted. This spells danger for all fans, players and staff of lower league clubs: missing out on the chance of glory, revenue and most importantly, memories.

No FA Cup replays? No Reading away, with flying fried eggs. No thrilling Bonetti-infused run in the 1990s with replays against West ham and Chelsea. More recently, no storming success at Scunny. Memories that live on, through sepia tinted glasses. Teams and stories and challenges and thrills discarded in the way Mo Salah would throw away a fiver.

No League Cup? Well, cross out your Evertons of 1979 and 1984; put down your Brollys and your Wilkinsons. No victory at Villa, or going toe-to-toe with Tottenham. No dismantling of Leicester or the Phil Jevons' Miracle. Nights that are floodlit with joy and emotion, our eyes and hearts full of awe and wonder, disappearing down a Premier League plughole.

We know football has changed, we accept and lament it in equal measure. The cornerstone of this country’s conscience, football needs nights where giants are toppled, where fans can dream, where success is measured with a pitch invasion.
Cup nights are the bread and butter of a Steels' jumbo meal – indulgent and sometimes filling, a brief sojourn along the season's route to mid-table mediocrity. Season's come and go but exploits in the cup, evenings in the shadows of giants are glistening pound coins in the sand of Cleethorpes beach.

As Town fans we cling to the past like cellophane on a greasy chip butty. Don't take that away from us.

Scrap cups for the convenience of the top dogs? Maybe it is a distraction from the league? What do you think?