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The FA Cup
The FA Cup

Reflections on a Weekend Off

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 04/01/2015

IT was refreshing to see a slightly different format for football this weekend. With Grimsby not playing it gave a chance to watch televised matches and take a back seat for once. This weekend football has been spread across the whole weekend from Friday evening to Monday evening. It's been like the World Cup a bit!

It might be inconvenient for the paying spectators of the big clubs to attend evening games in particular, but for the armchair fan it's a change for the better in my view. I don't watch Spanish football but I've noticed that they spread their fixtures right across the weekend far more than we do in England, where games tend to be lumped either on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. In Rugby League, a sport I enjoy, the fixtures run from Thursday to Sunday and in Australian NRL they hardly ever have games that kick off at the same time so they all can be televised between Thursday and Sunday.

For the Conference, League 2 and League 1, which Grimsby are likely to be confined to for the foreseeable future, it's hard to envisage anything but Saturday 3pm kick-offs as there's not the demand for television. But wouldn't it be nice if the Premier League completely moved away from 3pm kick-offs as standard and spread all their matches over the weekend, like we've had the FA Cup this weekend. It might mean reducing the top division to 18 sides, but it could be done with probably nine slots (Thursday, Friday, 3 Saturday, 3 Sunday and Monday)? I reckon you'd get more fans attending lower league games as well as they'd be able to watch their "big" side as well at some other point during the weekend. Hopefully they'll get hooked and start coming to more live games.

What a fantastic competition the FA Cup still is. Despite all the changes to football and the big money that has come into the game over the last couple of decades, it remains one of the highlights of the season in between Rounds 2 to the Quarter Finals. After that I normally lose interest in the FA Cup if the only clubs left in it are the giants of the game (none of whom I support), however in years gone by we have had teams like Wigan and Sheffield Utd reach the latter stages, and even win it in the case of Wigan.

This weekend there have been some great games. There haven't been many huge upsets it has to be said, which we all like to watch, but there have been a few close calls. Let's hope a Wigan or a Sheff Utd makes it to the semis at least again to fly the flag for the smaller clubs.

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