Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magic of the FA Cup Will Never Fade, Says TV Analyst

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magic of the FA Cup Will Never Fade, Says TV Analyst

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Sports Writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com

STEVE McManaman has dismissed talk of playing down the importance of the FA Cup as "ridiculous" as the competition starts to warm up.

The ex-Real Madrid star is on Tyneside for Gateshead's FA Cup first-round replay with League Two side Oxford United.

Fans have been snapping up tickets for the clash at the International Stadium tonight (7.45pm) as FA Cup fever has gripped parts of Tyneside.

There's plenty of excitement from Tynesiders fans and while Newcastle United supporters will also join forces with their neighbours this evening, they will do so knowing the St James' Park hierarchy have stated that FA Cup glory is not "a priority" for the club.

McManaman, though, is protective over the competition and the former Liverpool star's views are likely to strike a chord with North East fans.

He told The Journal: "Arsene Wenger once said that finishing fourth was more important than winning the FA Cup.

"I sort of understand what he meant for financial reasons.

"But saying that it is more important than trying to win a cup, have a day out at Wembley for your fans and when you haven't won one for a while, I think is ridiculous.

"At the start of the season there's three trophies for most of the teams -there's the title and the two cups. If there are only three chances you want to try to win one. When I played football it was incredibly important to me to win trophies.

"I didn't sit back after my career and say that I won two league titles and finished third and fourth one year. I say I won the FA Cup.

"For me it is important. "One of the first games I ever went to watch was in 1984 when Watford played Everton with my father. It was also the first trophy I ever won in 1992 when Liverpool beat Sunderland.

"It means so much to me as a fan and a player, I will stick by traditions all day long."

Tradition will be where it's at for Gateshead tonight as they look to see off Oxford. …

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