Why FA Cup Semi-Finals at Wembley are a Good Thing

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It has recently been discussed that the FA cup system may need changing. These talks are mainly due to the bigger clubs not taking the oldest and “best” (Coyle’s words) domestic cup competition in League football seriously, often fielding weakened sides.

One suggestion that has been proposed for changing the FA cup is that the FA cup semi-finals should not be played at Wembley, as this should be saved for the final itself. Most in football seem unanimous that this is a good suggestion, possibly playing the Semi-Finals at other large but more traditional stadiums such as Old Trafford and Villa Park, but I feel that I’m the only man still standing believing that Semi-Finals at Wembley are a good idea. Let me explain why.

If the goal of changing the cup competition is to get fans interested in the tournament and to give lesser teams a chance, then the Semi-Finals held at the biggest stage is an excellent idea, and something that should be kept. For the bigger sides that frequently visit Wembley, this may seem bad and to take the special feeling from the Final, but let us consider Bolton’s recent successes in the Cup.

Are we not all now relishing the prospect of going to Wembley after being awarded a winnable tie in the Quarter-Final? Since the draw for the Fulham game, we Bolton fans have been relishing the idea, and that brings back optimism to the fans and we begin to dream again. That’s FA Cup fever.

Also, with Wembley as a Semi-Final venue, managers begin to field stronger sides. In the game against Fulham both sides took to the field with strong starting line-ups, knowing that a win would put them in one game’s reach of pleasing all their fans, a rare trip to England’s finest. Can you honestly tell me that Coyle and Hughes would have cared so much had the Wembley trip only been for the Finalists? And can you tell me that Birmingham, now League Cup winners, but stuck in a relegation battle, would field their strongest side if another game at Wembley wasn’t at stake?

Of course managers mix in some fringe players, but the cup games are taken more seriously by fans, managers, teams and players knowing that a rare trip to Wembley is on the cards. No one can deny that.

So, in my opinion having Semi-Finals at Wembley should not be changed as it brings back the magic to the fans, and managers see the opportunity to please their fans, which Meggo proved to be rather important in today’s game. And can anything ever take away the magic of an FA cup final?

Having said that, I would not be against changing the cup in various other ways. I would love to know your opinions on the proposed suggestions for changing the world’s oldest domestic cup competition, so don’t hesitate to be in touch. That’s all for now.