by Patrick O’Connor
THE FA Cup is a competition that never fails to grab the public’s imagination.
It stands out as the most exciting club cup event in the world because it pits the big boys against the minnows and never fails to serve up major upsets.
The FA Cup is the chance for a small club to enjoy a fairytale victory, it is the time when dreams can come true. And never is this more likely than in the first round which involves non-league clubs and those sides from Leagues One and Two.
On Friday night a sensational game saw FC United, who play in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, win 3-2 away to their Lancashire neighbours Rochdale who currently lie 13th in League One. In a thrilling, see-saw game, it took a goal by Michael Norton in the fourth minute of injury time to clinch victory for FC United who had led 2-0 at one stage.
Readers of this column will know that I am continually harping on about the stranglehold on English football by the top three or four clubs who are heavily funded by overseas owners.
Some supporters of those sides have never been happy with the way their clubs have been run and that has never been more evident than in the case of Manchester United.
So much so that in 2005, fans opposed to the Glazer family’s takeover of United formed a breakaway club – FC United.
No wonder their jubilant supporters invaded the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate this famous victory.
They will already be dreaming of a possible third round draw against Manchester United.
Those football enthusiasts who fear that genuine competition is gradually being eliminated from the Premier League need only to look north of the border to see what could happen,
Scottish football is now permanently in decline with the two Glasgow clubs, Celtic and Rangers, totally dominating the league and cup.
And as a result the national side is slipping further and further down the world rankings as the lack of a true competitive edge in the domestic game takes its toll.
After only 11 games the Scottish Premier League already has a familiar look to it.
Celtic and Rangers hold the top two spots, 11 points ahead of their nearest rivals and on Saturday Celtic walloped Aberdeen 9-0.
Celtic’s game was watched by 46,446 people, the other three Premier League games played on Saturday attracted a total of only 10.740.
As a competitive event the Scottish Premier League is already restricted to whether it will be Celtic or Rangers – what a bore!
“Sick as a parrot,” is a phrase sometimes used to describe the reaction when your team slumps to a particularly bad defeat and it doesn’t just apply to followers of Aberdeen.
Just think of those unfortunate to follow Somerton & Langport Ladies football team.
According to a report in the Sun newspaper, they were walloped 41-0 by Somerset’s Keynsham Town Ladies Reserves which is believed to be the third biggest defeat in the history of the English women’s game.
Keynsham did have a slight advantage from the kick-off however as only eight players turned up for Somerton & Langport.
Apparently a ninth arrived 20 minutes into the game but Keynsham were 15-0 up at half-time.
Keynsham chairman Graham Rogers told the Sun: “We used the wings, opened up the space and let them do the running.”
Striker Chloe Rogers chipped in with 11 goals and even goalkeeper Caroline Oyedepo got on the scoresheet – from the penalty spot.