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FA Cup back on Centre Stage? Money Talks Again.

By Peter Hall :  16/02/2009 :  Comments (16) :
Even before the millenium competition when holders Manchester United declined to enter, the FA Cup had been falling down the pecking order of great sporting events, eclipsed by the success of the Premier League.

But this year I have heard much less about the top clubs playing weakened teams, and a lot more excitement and determination to succeed. Is it just my own bias because we are having a good run at last, I wondered? Looking at the wider press coverage I thought no, there is a real sense of the ?glory of the cup? in their pages.

Trying to find an answer, I strayed onto the FA website, http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/2007/06/FACupPrizeFund and found that, especially in these credit-crunch days, money is the answer. The FA has greatly increased the prize money in this year?s competition, and the television money has gone up too.

Our run so far has been worth £375k (prize) and £5150 (tv). Last year it would have been worth (had we managed it!) £220k (prize) plus £100k - £300k depending on matches selected for live transmission.

But the biggest jump comes in the later rounds. When we beat (COYB) Middlesborough or WHU we will get £400k (prize) plus £275k assuming the game is shown live which it surely will be. For the Wembley matches prize and tv are bundled. Semi-final losers get £500k (this is really gained by our sixth-round victory) while winners get £1M. And the cup winners get £2M while the defeated finalists get £1M.

So winning the Cup is worth £4.2M in direct payments from the FA (2008 approx £2.7M), while as beaten finalists we would have picked up £3.2M (2008 £1.8M). This takes no account of gate receipts (are there any to the clubs for the Wembley matches?).

I realise this wouldn?t go far to restore Mr. Abramovich?s recent losses, but for a self-financed club whose turnover is around £75M it is not to be sneezed at as a more than handy bonus.

I guess the FA has seen its flagship event declining and has responded in the only language that talks to top football clubs nowadays ? money.

Reader Comments

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Gerry Morrison
1   Posted 16/02/2009 at 22:26:00

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Give the FA Cup winners the fourth Champions League spot; that will bring back its glory right away.
Dave Southword
2   Posted 16/02/2009 at 23:16:11

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No, that would give the Cup the reflected glory of the Champions League and the FA Cup should be more than a qualifying competition.

I think Pompey winning last year helped with the attention and if the money is improved that helps motivate the clubs but when Phil Neville lists that trophy aloft in May we won?t be saying, "Yes! £4.2M in the bag", we?ll be feeling that incredible well of emotion that comes from a win on Cup Final Day.
Kase Chow
3   Posted 17/02/2009 at 00:12:53

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Good post. D?ya know what? I don?t have a clue how I would celebrate if we won it. I dare not even imagine it for fear of any disappointment if we don?t.

Shit, I, like you all, have been waiting SO LONG for us to win something. We?ve taken abuse and disappointment and frustration. So many weekends have been ruined... my poor wife...

I just dare not dream...and yet if you can?t enjoy the possibility that we could be good enough what can you enjoy? I keep fearing it will come to an end, we?ll get spanked by a shit team ? perhaps West Ham ? and I?ll feel that fucking disappointment, that fucking dispair that we?re just unlucky and it hurts.

Are we that good? Are we good enough to win it? Well, we look it. And we give heart and soul. And we?re a proper football club so I know we?ll give it our best shot. That will have to do for me cos I simply dare not dream...

Alasdair Mackay
4   Posted 17/02/2009 at 10:22:15

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I would be very surprised if the other three semi-finalists are Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United.

It means that while everyone is talking about us as "dark horses" for the cup now, it is because we drew a home tie against West Ham or Boro. That game will be very different from the Liverpool and Villa games, as the opposition will be coming to defend and take us to their stadium for a replay. I still fancy us to have enough on the day, but if we do get through we suddenly become rank outsiders and the fourth best team in the semi-finals.

I think talk of winning the FA Cup is a little premature. It is possible, but we will more than likely have to overcome two of the sky four after beating another Premier League team.

Patty Beesley
5   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:14:40

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As Alasdair says, if we do beat West Ham/M?boro and go through to the semi-final of the FA Cup, by all odds we will then face probably Chelsea, Man U or Arsenal.... a bit daunting to say thye least. I?m not saying we couldn?t beat them but we always seem not to be quite up for it against those teams, particularly Man U... Still perhaps our name is on the Cup ? I certainly hope so.
Paul Watson
6   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:18:52

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Yes, one of the big four would be daunting. But as Alex Ferguson put it when asked about the large size of the squad at his disposal "We?ll be needing them all". When you consider the scale of the money on offer in the CL ? the difference between being a losing semi-finalist and winning the competition is well over £10m ? don?t expect to see a full strength team put out.
Brian Garside
7   Posted 17/02/2009 at 12:48:04

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I for one avoid looking too far ahead. However, why would it be "daunting" to meet one of the Sky4?

Fact: Arsenal were lucky against us last time out. We can beat them, if not at the Emirates. Chelsea are inconsistent and we are nearing them. Again, we can beat them on our day. Finally the Mancs. We know that we can take them at home. Away have we lost to a single penalty two years in a row.

So I say that they ALL will be wanting to avoid a resugent EFC in the semi. Daunting!!! It is them who will be quaking in their boots at the thought of meeting a fully focused, determined, up and at them Everton team with nothing to loose.

But don't cross your bridges before you reach them.

Tony Williams
8   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:24:18

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Not wanting to piss on anyones chips (mine included) I just hope that the West Ham/Boro games doesn’t become a remake (a small made for TV version) of the Fiorintina game. If we are beaten, I hope it doesn’t signal the start of another slump.

I hate it when I start being pessimistic
Dave Wright
9   Posted 17/02/2009 at 13:21:23

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Now here’s a scenario. Should we reach the semis along with Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea, and those three teams qualify for the Champions League (OK it’s looking increasingly unlikely), will we qualify for Europe regardless of further cup results or our League position?
Chris Stone
10   Posted 17/02/2009 at 14:10:35

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Good question Dave, and one that I’d thought about too. Although I’m of the opinion that it’s only when you make the final and lose to an already qualified (for european competition) team. But maybe someone can clarify this as I could be wrong?
Brett Bradshaw
11   Posted 17/02/2009 at 14:12:03

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Wouldn’t we have to be a losing finalist to qualify like that Dave?

If both teams in the final have already qualified I would have thought the European place goes to league standing?

If being a losing semi finalist would gaurentee us european football, surely it would be more important than the league!!? at the present moment in time.
Dave Wright
12   Posted 17/02/2009 at 16:08:53

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I think you’re right, Brett. I’ve checked on the FA website, and only the losing finalists seem to be eligible. However, if the FA Cup winners and the League Cup winners qualify for the Champions League, then seventh place will be good enough for qualification.
Phillip Mosley
13   Posted 17/02/2009 at 17:44:08

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Let?s just take one game at a time lads.
Peter Hall
14   Posted 17/02/2009 at 21:58:20

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On Euro qualification, if the FA Cup semi-finalists are Everton, Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal then we are in Europe next year because we won’t finish lower than sixth. And because the others won’t finish lower than fifth (if we are sixth!!) the Cup winners can’t consume a UEFA cup place, so the league will get an extra UEFA cup place for sixth.

That is if Man U haven’t already sorted this by beating Spurs in the Carling Cup final and handing the league an extra position.

If Man U win the Carling and the semis are as listed, then even Wigan have a chance of UEFA cup fame (better them than Man C).

You believe me, don’t you?
Andy Waid
15   Posted 17/02/2009 at 22:52:04

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A point of reference here: the Runner up of the FA Cup no longer gets a European place in the Europa Cup and it will go to the sixth placed league side. If Man U will the Carling Cup then the FA Cup place will go to the 7th placed side, assuming a team in the top 5 or 6 win it.

Uefa didn't want teams like Millwall and what could have been Cardiff entering the new prestigious cup and its new format.
Adam Wightman
16   Posted 18/02/2009 at 05:58:03

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It's exciting talking about the cup but we have to take each game as it comes. Every cup and league game will be its own mini cup final from here on in.

West Ham went all the way to the final a few years ago and if it wasn?t for Stevie Nightclub and the rest of le shite they would've won. Plus I have never felt as low being a blue as when Boro tonked us 3-0 in the cup. I?d kind of like it to Boro we play, that was Smith?s last game in charge and led to Moyes coming. Let's thank them for that by putting 3 past them. We owe them one in the cup. COYB


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