For those of you of a certain age you may have picked up the melodic tune of the title to this piece if you remember a band called Smokie. But I have had this ringing in my ears for the last two days and as someone quite rightly pointed out to me on Twitter we could just as easily follow this line up with “Palace? Who the fk are Palace?”

The pain of this cup exit was felt more than most in recent years. This is the one time we really felt primed to compete in the competition and we had a winnable draw at home in the last 16. Win that and then the possibility of a Wembley final starts to become tangible and you only have to win three more games to get your hands on the trophy. Not only that we’d take it away from those home draw goons who have been gifted the trophy for the last two season with finals against a poor Hull side and an even poorer Villa one.

OK we have had six FA Cup semi-finals since last winning it in 1991 but we never used to lose semi-finals and we certainly used to win the damn thing outright. And this is why this particular cup is held in such high regard by many Spurs fans. But for all the media hype around the “magic” of the FA Cup nothing could be further from the truth and I for one am angry at how this competition has been allowed to deteriorate into the farce that it has become with none more guilty than the custodians of the competition, the FA themselves.

From the day that they allowed semi-finals to be regularly played at Wembley they diluted the very magic of getting there. Add to that the nonsense around letting Man Utd “skip” the tournament one year and then season it with allowing the Premier League to ride rough shod over football in this country and it is no wonder the competition is what it has become. Lower level premier league teams “rest” players so that they can battle for Premier League survival. Championship teams “rest” players so that they can battle for promotion to the Premier League and so on. In short the Premier League and the Pound are the drivers of priorities so much so that the game clearly is not about glory any more. The Goons won £1.8m for winning the FA cup last season. The last placed team in the Premier league will get £1.23m and that is without TV revenue. So go figure.

But we are in the age where “prioritising” has become an accepted term in football. You only have to see Manchester City’s shoddy display against Chelsea on Sunday and the awful disdain for the competition reflected in their line up to understand where we have got to. This is tantamount to allowing teams to have bye’s into the next round so where’s the magic in that. And clubs expect fans to travel hundreds of miles to watch guys represent them that they possibly may not have even heard of before.

So the solace in getting knocked out of the FA Cup is that we can, as Spurs, now focus on the Premier League and maybe the Europa League too. We have by default prioritised our actions although I am not sure if in Pochettino’s case it was as intentional as Pellegrini’s this weekend. “There’ll be less games to play now”; “we should knock the Europa league on the head too”; and “it’s probably for the best”; just some of the ways we can put a gloss on the defeat on Sunday. There will indeed be less games to play (three of them as a maximum), and who knows it may even work out for the best if there isn’t a distraction of a Wembley final to occupy the minds of players that have a league title to challenge for, for the first time in decades. But that isn’t really the point is it?

The game did used to be about glory. Honest it did. And there did used to be some magic attached to the FA Cup. That once glorious showgirl now turning tricks in the city centre slum in order to keep the flame burning for old time’s sake.

I am old school. I want the club to win trophies and when all is said and done that’s what any football club’s history and honours list is measured by. But such is modern football that we have all become conditioned to accept what is deemed to be important and how each club is right to prioritise their efforts and we all get over it very quickly. And of course I will be hoping beyond hope that this does indeed work out for the best and my club and that they can pick up an honour at the end of this season even though we are now down to two of a possible four.

Trophies used to be celebrated. Now we celebrate league position, signings, and participation. Not quite the same when you understand that it’s all about money, which invariably ends up in the pockets of players and comes out of the pockets of you and me. At least let us have something to crow about in between. Still. Onwards and upwards eh?

Advertisements