A century before its magic faded, FA Cup really did save English game

The draw for this season’s FA Cup took place last Monday — but did anybody really care, asks Paul Rouse.

A small acre of newsprint has been used to lament the demise of a competition that was once so central to English sporting life — and central also to the childhoods of people who grew up in a television age where the FA Cup final was one of the few club soccer matches shown live in any given year.

This breeds an inevitable nostalgia — but there is no meaningful prospect of time’s arrow being reversed here. There is no true romance left in a competition when the biggest clubs field their second-rate players and where domestic leagues and European competition are all that really matter. And yet, without the FA Cup, the game of soccer might easily have slipped into oblivion.

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