Magic of the FA Cup
So then, 16 teams remain in this season’s FA Cup and astonishingly, just 6 of those are from the Premier League. Another five were left to ‘concentrate on the league’ at the weekend with two of them, Manchester City and Derby County getting the heave-ho from sides in the Championship. And following Monday’s fifth round draw, at least 3 non top flight clubs are guaranteed to make it through to the quarter finals. Add to that the fairytale journey of Havant & Waterlooville which ended at Liverpool, the balloon factor which accounted for Sven’s men at Sheffield United and the pairing of Manchester United and Arsenal next time out and all talk about the Cup’s demise in recent season’s looks to be as accurate now as ‘that Wembley shot’ by Geoff Thomas back in 1992.
ITV & Setanta Drool Over the FA Cup
Talking of the FA Cup, ITV and Setanta must be rubbing their hands at the thought of getting their hands on the competition from next season. The pair paid £425 million to take the Cup rights, along with home England International matches, off the Beeb and Sky in March last year. Whilst probably thinking that the England games would be ‘the jewel in the crown’ the way this season’s FA Cup has panned out will give ITV and the Irish satellite company plenty of scope to crow about their coverage as they plan to show over 40 games per year between them from the 2008 / 2009 season.
US, UK Club Ownership
Derby County have become the latest Premier League club to be taken over by an American consortium. General Sports and Entertainment are the new guys in charge at Pride Park after agreeing an investment partnership with the club. Derby becomes the fourth top flight side in American hands, along with Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa. Which got me thinking. How about if English companies or individuals ventured across the pond to take over a few sporting franchises in the good old US of A? It only seems fair. The Ramblers Association would be an ideal match for the Green Bay Back Packers, David Sullivan and David Gold could consider leaving Birmingham and taking over at the New Orleans Saints and Sinners, JK Rowling’s a certainty for the Washington Wizards whilst judging by the donations scandal affecting the Labour Party at the moment, any current or former front bencher might want to take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Good luck to George Burley in his new role as Scotland coach. The last time he took charge of a team in Scotland, Heart of Midlothian, he guided them to the top of the SPL with 8 wins from 10 matches before walking away from the club in despair. Burley must be mighty relieved that the Scottish FA is headed up by Gordon Smith and not Vladimir Romanov.
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