Paul Lambert said what a lot of people have been thinking for years. The FA Cup is more of a distraction than a dream.
The FA Cup is still huge in England for the fans and for some of the players especially from the lower leagues. For them the romance of the FA Cup is still alive and kicking.
But for Lambert it means little. As it does for many a Scot. We look on at the competition and to be honest struggle to see the magic that gets rammed down our throats from the biased media.
These days the Champions League blows it out of the water as the best club cup competition.
The sad truth is very few teams can actually afford to win the cup in this era. Only the top five or six sides in the English Premier League can cope with battling on various fronts.
Yet give these sides the chance of winning the league/the Champions League or the FA Cup and no manager worth his salt will pick the latter. Disappointingly they would even sacrifice the FA Cup for a top four finish.
No side in the bottom half of the EPL will want an extended run in the cup as it can prove to be a fatal distraction, just look at Wigan last season. Yes Wigan chairman Dave Whelan loved winning the FA Cup last term, but he is a supporter as much as an owner. Give the option of a Cup triumph or Premier League survival to a foreign owner like Randy Lerner, Vincent Tan or Shahid Khan and there can be no doubt that they wouldn’t think twice in choosing league survival.
Even mid-table managers and owners struggle to get enthused cup successes. Why? Because they can’t be doing with the Europa League that comes the season after. Stoke and Swansea struggled to come to terms with midweek European ties often seen as meaningless from their fans. The continental distraction caused these sides to suffer in the league.
Look even the promotion chasers in the Championship will also think twice about going all the way in the FA Cup if it means their promotion push falters.
So was Paul Lambert wrong in what he said about the FA Cup being a distraction many managers can do without?
No. He was spot on.
That said he shouldn’t have aired his opinion in public. Villa fans already disgruntled with the manager will just use this to undermine him.
Sometimes honesty really isn’t the best policy, just leave those comments to the uninterested bloggers.