On six-oh-six last night there was a debate on how we could bring back the magic of the cup. Some Herbert from Essex phoned in to say he’d been at the Southampton Yeovil game that afternoon, that the stadium was half full and the atmosphere was dead.
Here are a couple of observations. The away end was totally full with over 3,500 Yeovil fans.
The rest of the ground was half empty as the Saints fans preferred to save their pennies for the home game against Arsenal on Tuesday night.
I don’t blame them. Even though the tickets we bought were only £20 (£10 concessions), why waste your money on the magic of the FA cup?
What was sad, and remains unexplained, was why Southampton did not issue a second tranche of tickets to Yeovil after we’d sold out. Yeovil requested it and were refused.
I did not apply originally as Olly was due to play football for his school that day and my loyalties were there. At the last moment the match was called off (as too many matches are) to protect the pitch and the parent’s laundry bills.
So we drove down from London to St Mary’s , parked in the mosque (£5 to the friendly cleric) and bought our tickets. Of course it’s not about buying tickets any more, it’s about proving your a home fan, so we had to do some buttering up of the locals to get them to share their “customer reference number” so we could sit in the half empty library at the Itchen end.
We lost, but that’s not the point. All the noise in the stadium came from the travelling Glovers and never has an away chant “you’re supposed to be at home” been more apposite.
For me, the memories of the game will be about staring at our fans who really treated this as a cup final. That big red slither in the corner of the ground was a bank of 2000 seats that were not even put on sale for the match and denied fans like us.
Many Yeovil fans didn’t bother trying to buy home tickets but stayed at home. For them there was no magic of the cup.
Most of the Saints fans sitting around us spent all 90 minutes complaining that it was a rubbish game.
I really don’t understand what Premier League clubs are playing at. Paul Lambert’s stupid comments about Villa not needing the cup are just the last in a long list of idiotic statements from the big clubs that demonstrate their lack of vision.
The Premier League is constantly revived by clubs like Swansea, Hull and Cardiff who have spent most of their time in the lower leagues. Clubs like Leeds, Coventry and Portsmouth who are variously in the Championship and Division one and two, will in due course return to the Premiership. The Premier League’s reliance on lower league clubs to revivify itself and the lower leagues to incubate the next Swansea , is clear for all to see.
It’s quite absurd that a club like Southampton, who played us only three seasons ago in League One, should treat Yeovil and their fans so shabbily. They should remember just what happened to Portsmouth and so nearly happened to them.
We enjoyed watching the 3-0 thrashing we got last time we were at the Dell on their big screen- memories of their past are clearly selective
For the record, Southampton were the better side but the result could have been so different if Jamie McAllister hadn’t started playing netball and we’d taken one or two of our chances.
The Southampton fans who moaned it was no fun, go into the hat for the fifth round, a sad and miserable bunch. The Yeovil fans, who return to Championship survival duties, travelled home proud and happy.
Such is the magic of the cup.
Some suggestions to restore the FA Cup to its former glory:
1. Winners to be entered in Champions League (and the FA to persuade the Premiership to give up one of its places)
2. Semi finals at grounds other than Wembley
3. Abolish replays and go straight to penalty shoot outs after 90 minutes
yours aye, George