Midweek Memoirs of Mr Bodell
Here`s a conspiracy theory for you; the Football Association have looked out their tower, past the wads of cash and seen the truth, a horrible, ugly truth that the F.A Cup isn`t anywhere as good as it used to be.
I say this half in jest, but in all seriousness, it`s uncanny how the big four have all been dumped out in the rounds prior to the quarter finals, other than United who lost probably the most one-sided of the quarters. It makes a nice change to see just one Premier League side in the Semi`s and a team like Portsmouth deserve it more than others. The other three sides represent the Championship very well and whichever sides end up in the Final, it promises to be more of a competitive, enjoyable, open affair than normal.
Looking at the Semi Final line-up, most would be expecting West Brom and Portsmouth to make it, but having drawn one-another, one is obviously going out. Although it would be nice to see little old Pompey win it, wouldn`t it be fantastic for the neutral to see two Championship sides play one another - a great advertisement for the Coca Cola Championship. Not forgetting League One of course with Bristol City enjoying a fantastic run beating Fulham and Southampton to boot. And, if we`re going that far down the league ladder, Chasetown and Havant and Waterlooville have also the cup what it`s been this season. It`s when you consider I have a mate who`s played a county match at Chasetown you realise how far down the league ladder they are and what an achievement it is.
Here are the reasons why each of the remaining teams have a cup claim:Portsmouth
Nearing the end of a fantastic season under Harry and a trip to Wembley is a fantastic achievement but I expect they will want more than that and also know they can go further as the 'strongest team left in the competition`. They are the most lovable club left in the competition if your side is out with their ramshackle ground, the lovable Harry and where they`ve come from. West Brom
I want West Brom to win the F.A Cup, because if they do, hopefully promotion will take the back seat and they will be more likely to suffer from burnout with another two games, plus possibly extra time [in both?] to play. They do have a large squad, but they will need to play their strongest in both in a crucial run-in.
For non-selfish reasons they are probably the most entertaining side in the cup left and they certainly have the firepower to win it, or at least progress with Phillips, Bednar and Miller in their ranks.Barnsley
Despite knocking out Liverpool and holders Chelsea, Barnsley have the least firepower and their run is the most amazing considering the run they`ve had. Simon Davey, a rookie manager in charge and a squad patched up with loan-signings and frees - most notably Luke Steele who has been superb have excelled.
Finally, an ex-'Golden Boy` - though I`m not sure Martin Devaney was here long enough to warrant that title! A great cross for Odejayi none the same.Cardiff
WE CAN`T LET THIS HAPPEN! Maybe it sounds pig-ignorant or arrogant or just old-fashioned but we can`t allow a Welsh side to win the 'ENGLISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION CHALLENGE CUP`. By all means go off and win the Welsh equivalent, just not ours
As possessive as that sounds, would they want Accrington Stanley winning the Welsh F.A Cup? No, there`d be uproar. What does it say for the English sides if they do it? Come on Barnsley!
If Watford aren`t to make promotion then we`ve got to look back at our F.A Cup sacrifice, because the chance was evidently there, it could`ve been us there instead of Cardiff…
Great thing hindsight.
Keep the faith,