Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Aggravated Hornet's Stinging Reply to David Mellor's Controversial Column .

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Aggravated Hornet's Stinging Reply to David Mellor's Controversial Column .

Article excerpt

Dear David

IN your Friday column a few weeks ago, you made a number of negative comments about the way the FA Cup has gone this season and the fact that Watford are in the semi-finals.

Those comments caused outrage in parts of Hertfordshire and also among those who continue to regard the FA Cup as the greatest knockout competition in club football.

Indeed, for you to suggest that the only way the Football Association can maintain the status of the competition among the Premiership's foreign managers is to award the winners a Champions League place is nothing less than an insult to every manager, player and supporter who is involved with a club outside the top half of the English elite.

All of whom, I have little doubt, would give anything to be where Watford will be on Sunday afternoon.

You are not alone in this snobbish disregard for the sanctity of the FA Cup.

TalkSport morning show host Mike Parry even went so far as to suggest that the competition has actually been devalued by having two First Division clubs still in it at this late stage. His reasoning being that television audiences in such far-flung footballing hotbeds as Singapore and Malaysia are hardly likely to be enthralled by a Cup Final between Watford and Sheffield United, and that would be bad for the English game. What complete and utter drivel.

That is the beauty of the English game! More importantly, it's the magic of the FA Cup and if they don't understand that, why on earth should we care anyway?

Have we really become so jaundiced by the drive for television money that we have become more concerned about potential sales of replica shirts to Chinese schoolchildren than we have about the fact that on Sunday 19,000 Watford fans will actually get off their backsides, travel to Birmingham and play a part in one of the great annual English sporting occasions - a semi-final of the FA Cup?

Or does the world of journalism genuinely believe that a competition where every Final is played between two teams pooled from the top six of the Premiership would be better than one where part-time clubs like Farnborough Town can make it all the way through to the fourth round, only to be beaten by one of the greatest club sides in European football? …

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