Dave Kitson Swears Off the F.A. CupBy: Daryl | January 4th, 2008
Every January the Premier League teams half-heartedly enter the FA Cup and we all ask the same old, same old question: Has the FA Cup lost its magic? Well now, thanks to Reading striker Dave Kitson, we finally have an answer: “We are not going to win the FA Cup and I do not give two s**ts about it, to be honest with you,” Kiston said in the build up (or should that be build down?) to Reading’s Third Round tie against Tottenham tomorrow. The most worrying thing about Kitson’s quote isn’t the lack of respect towards the world’s oldest cup competition (since 1871 believe it or not) but the fact that he’s convinced Reading won’t win it.
It used to be that consistent quality teams won the league championship in England while lucky teams won the cup. That’s what made the F.A. Cup so exciting. Maybe your squad wasn’t big enough or good enough to win the league, but if your team could beat anyone on their day then there was a shot at Wembley glory. In 1980’s the likes of Coventry City and Wimbledon lifted the FA Cup. But that seems to have changed recently as the big four of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool have come to dominate the trophy, with no club outside the top four lifting the cup since Everton in 1995.
Teams like Dave Kitson’s Reading openly admit that Premier League survival is more important than a cup run, with next season being worth around £50milliom in TV money to each Premier League club. Reading boss Steve Coppell fielded a virtual reserve team in last season’s F.A. Cup, and will do the same this weekend against Spurs.
One suggested solution would be to give the F.A. Cup winners a Champions League spot. But while this would definitely add an extra layer of drama, seems to me that giving the top four even more incentive to win the trophy would be counter-productive to making guys like Dave Kitson believe their team can go all the way. What the F.A. Cup really needs is for a small team to win it, which isn’t as impossible as you might think.
Though the big four have been passing the trophy around between them for the past eleven seasons, the likes of Southampton, Millwall and West Ham have all made it to the final in that time. What the F.A. Cup needs is for one of these teams to go one better and win the damn thing, to remind everyone what cup glory looks like. Then players like Dave Kitson (who’s highly unlikely to taste either Premier League or Champions League glory in his career) might start believing they can win the F.A. Cup and start giving a shit – or maybe even two shits – about it.