Monday, 4 October 2010

Up for the cup

Attitudes towards sporting events change over the years. When I was young the Boat Race was a major national event which got small boys taking sides in the playground. Our neighbours in Cheriton Drive got a television before we did and invited us in to watch the occasion.

Similarly, at one time the FA Cup was the major national football event. Winning it was in some ways a more cherished achievement than winning the league. The league, of course, is a much better test of a team's performance over a season which is why cups are of secondary importance elsewhere in Europe. Major teams such as Real Madrid often enter their reserve teams (which admittedly compete in the league at a lower level).

The magic of the Cup was in some ways diluted by the arrival of the League Cup and what was originally the Full Members' Cup and is now the paint drying trophy, but for many years was the Sherpa and then the LDV Vans.

For some years now Charlton have not done cups. This was rather aggravating in the Premiership when the League Cup was a competition in which we could reasonably aspire to do well. In the third division, it is a rational strategy.

The one really worth bothering about in my view is the FA Cup. It still has some prestige attached to it and if you get through to the third round you might get drawn away to a Premier League side and get a big pay day. No one is going to blame you if you lose 3-0 away to a top outfit.

Tomorrow's televised encounter with the MK Dons has turned into something of a test of Phil Parkinson's management. It doesn't seem a very good test one way or the other to me. Supposing Abbott and Benson both score? Is their acquisition then vindicated? Two goals at Plymouth would be more impressive.

Given that MK Dons are something of a home side, it is difficult to see Charlton getting anything out of tomorrow's encounter. But you never know, especially with the Addicks.

The rules require six regular first team players to be used. A number of permutations are possible. My only recommendations would be to give Worner another chance in goal to continue his development and to give Dailly a run out. Clearly it is an opportunity to use some 'two way' players as they are called in ice hockey. Perhaps Sodje could be given a decent amount of pitch time.

We have suffered from some very poor refereeing recently. I see that tomorrow's night ref is from England's smallest county, Rutland. He could well be the No.1 referee in Rutland, but that could mean anything.

If you are going, enjoy the game. I will be at the New Windmill Ground to see Leamington take on Brackley which will be a real test of their recent recovery (Brackley recently knocked them out of the FA Cup).

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