Much has been made of the great FA Cup wins at the weekend, with Bradford City, Middlesbrough and Blackburn all claiming Premier scalps.
It was excellent to see the Bantams roar back from 2-0 down to humble Jose Mourinho’s Blues. You almost had to feel sorry for the Teessiders, as usually a 2-0 win at the Etihad would have been the biggest shock of the day, but that and Blackburn’s 3-1 home win against Swansea, were eclipsed by City’s win.
You would have thought that BBC and BT Sport were kicking themselves for not gambling on the Chelsea-Bradford game as a live match, and that the Bantams’ home game against either Fulham or Sunderland in their fifth round would have been a certainty on the list of live games.
But the games chosen for live ties are West Brom v West Ham and Crystal Palace v Liverpool or Bolton on Saturday, followed by Aston Villa v Leicester and Arsenal v Middlesbrough on Sunday. Preston or Sheffield United v Cambridge or Manchester United is the Monday night game.
While it is good that Preston or Sheffield United will receive FA live broadcast fee of £247,500, why did they choose the Aston Villa-Leicester City clash?
Villa have been goal-shy in the extreme over the past few months, and surely a Bradford game at home to Sunderland or Fulham would have been much more interesting than the all-Premier clash.
It was great to see Cambridge hold Manchester United to a goalless draw on Friday night, and although it may not have been as action-packed as the Bradford win at Stamford Bridge, it was still as gripping as they defended defiantly against their big-spending visitors.
Scarborough FC’s dream cup draw against Chelsea back in 2004 attracted the Sky Sports cameras and the money that comes with it, allowing the funds for the Seasiders to survive for a few more years.
It should not be underestimated how crucial such decisions are for the lower-league teams, a live FA Cup match can be a massive boost for League One or League Two sides.
I would probably rather watch paint dry than either the West Brom-West Ham or Aston Villa-Leicester ties, and they certainly don’t need the FA money as much as the lower league teams.