You don’t have to go back too far to find people saying that the FA Cup was the best domestic cup competition in the world. In fact, wherever you look around the internet, it’s still listed amongst the top ten tournaments in soccer. Alongside the likes of the World Cup, Copa Libertadores and more, you’ll […]
You don’t have to go back too far to find people saying that the FA Cup was the best domestic cup competition in the world. In fact, wherever you look around the internet, it’s still listed amongst the top ten tournaments in soccer.
Alongside the likes of the World Cup, Copa Libertadores and more, you’ll see the oldest competition in the domestic game. It was first played back during the 1871-72 season, and was won by Wanderers, a club from London who no longer exist in their original form.
Since that first final, the FA Cup was the showpiece final for the sport across the UK. As time wore on, across all corners of the world fans and broadcasters alike have all looked to get in on the action. By looking at the list of those who show the competition, it shows there’s still a desire for it too. ESPN+ is the home of the FA Cup in the US, and that’s just one of a seemingly endless list of broadcasters itching to show the matches. From Bhutan to Zambia, fans can watch the minnows of semi-professional soccer trying to overturn the big boys of the English Premier League.
2022 FA Cup Final numbers
Last year’s final between Chelsea and Liverpool attracted over 12 million interested fans in the UK. A number which was pleasing to former England striker and current broadcaster, Gary Lineker.
However, it’s a shame, that some of the top clubs in the UK don’t seem as enthused in the competition. Clubs and their respective fans say they want success. But to get it, it’s domestic league competition that brings the spoils much bigger than those in the FA Cup. For instance, Liverpool won around $4 million when they lifted the trophy in May 2022.
It’s easy to see why many put the fight for Premier League status ahead of being named FA Cup winners. Those who don’t take it as seriously make it obvious too. As many of the top tier teams rotate their massive squads, bringing in youngsters and those on the fringes of their usual teams instead of their headline stars.
Wolves for example made NINE changes to their squad ahead of facing Liverpool over the weekend.
Yet some still see the FA Cup as vital
Although, some top clubs may not feel the FA Cup holds the same prestige as it once did. Look at the tie between Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United. Wednesday is still a big club despite being out of the Premier League since 2000. But in terms of current resources, it was almost a David vs Goliath tie. And on the evening, Sheffield Wednesday beat Newcastle, a Premier League club hunting a place in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Newcastle rotated their squad a little, but showed respect by still including players worth over $70 million, and brought on former MLS Star Miguel Almiron to try and turn the tie in their favor but it was to no avail. The atmosphere in the ground was electric amongst the Wednesday fans and even more so at full time. Try telling them the FA Cup isn’t as important.
There’s no doubt the FA Cup is still something that stirs the emotions of fans of the sport around the world. Not only are the matches well attended in stadiums, there were over 500 million who viewed Mo Salah and teammates lift aloft the trophy in last year’s final worldwide.
It shows the 150 year old competition is still one of the most important in world soccer. It arguably was the blueprint for all others to follow, and long may that continue.
Photo: IMAGO / Sportimage