Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Make Cup Magic Again ; Goulding Wants to Raise Profile of Challenge Cup as the Competition Enters Third Round This Weekend

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Make Cup Magic Again ; Goulding Wants to Raise Profile of Challenge Cup as the Competition Enters Third Round This Weekend

Article excerpt

FORMER Wembley winner Bobbie Goulding wants to see interest revived in the Challenge Cup in what he believes is an important year for rugby league.

Third round action takes centre stage this weekend and Goulding feels it is time to raise the competition's profile.

Goulding, who has four Challenge Cup winner's medals, is thrilled to see local amateur teams tackling clubs from the Championship.

For the minnows, they have chance to progress and land a plum tie with a Super League club in the next round.

Goulding wants everyone involved, including fans, to prove the magic of the cup is still very much alive and kicking and not simply a mid-summer side attraction.

He told M.E.N. Sport: "The Challenge Cup is the best cup competition bar none and is so special and unique.

"To progress and to eventually play at Wembley really is the stuff of fairy-tales.

"Having to take the cup on the road possibly did not help. It saddens me to see it diluted somewhat and playing second fiddle very much to the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. I will never devalue its stature and anyway, we have always had an end of season final at Old Trafford in addition to a Wembley showpiece.

"There was a Premiership Final in Manchester long before the glitzy Grand Final. All we have done is renamed a few things.

"The cup will certainly always be special to me. I hope that this weekend we see at first hand just how great it is and what it entails.

"It has fallen down the pecking order a bit but we need to show just how great it is this year.

"I don't think the BBC promote is it as well as they could compared to how they talk up rugby union.

"The Challenge Cup is a British sporting institution that must be preserved and kept strong at all costs.

"We have seen a revival this year in football's FA Cup and we also need a good year for the Challenge Cup.

"We have a World Cup at the end of it and need to make more people aware of what a great game we have. The cup can relay a message and generate excitement.

Success for a club can transform a town.

"It's not all just about what Super League has to offer. As a Widnes lad, I was brought up on the Challenge Cup. I can remember the great Widnes teams of the past who brought the cup back home.

"What they achieved introduced a whole new generation of people to the game and we could do with a similar boost across the board.

"For most players it is still the pinnacle. Australians who come over here are desperate to play in a Wembley final. It is a marvellous competition and one that is steeped in history and sporting drama. Long may this continue because we need the cup to be strong and vibrant.

"I was fortunate enough to play at Wembley on five occasions.

I made my Wembley debut as an 18-year-old playing for Wigan against Warrington.

"I was man of the match the week before and was hoping I had done enough to force my way into the team for the final. …

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