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Friday, 6 January 2012

The faded magic of the cup?

When Leeds were drawn against Arsenal in the FA Cup I knew the chances of playing them on a Saturday at 3pm were about as likely as Luis Suarez winning this year's Nobel prize for racial harmony but to be given the Monday night spot was disappointing to say the least.  Even playing at that fan unfriendly time hasn't stopped over 5,000 Leeds fans juggling work arrangements to snap up the allocated tickets so at least Leeds will win the singing contest at the North London library if not necessarily the game!

Whilst the game has got all the classic ingredients of an FA Cup game, a returning hero in Thierry Henry for the home side and some doughty underdog opposition in the form of the away team, I can't help thinking that the old magic of the cup means less and less as each year goes by.  The top Premier League teams now use the competition as a testing ground for their up and coming youngsters whilst resting their pampered megastars in readiness for the more important league games.  This has been the case for a number of years now but  despite this and the fact that the world's worst presenters of any sporting event, ITV, somehow have the rights to broadcast the competition to the world the words FA Cup 3rd round still manage to stir the nostalgia pot in lots of fans, me included.  Who can forget that chilly Sunday lunchtime at the Theatre of Shite or at the other end of the scale that soggy embarrassing day at Histon where Leeds' performance was marginally worse than the afore mentioned ITV camera crew?  No the old FA Cup trophy might be a bit tarnished but it can still throw up some memorable games not least of which was our last visit to the Emirates retirement home for rather polite and ever so quiet football fans?  A classic gritty performance by Leeds who so nearly hung on for another famous victory at the home of the pampered Premier League elite?  I wonder if Theo will once again by auditioning for the GB Olympic freestyle diving team?

On Planet Leeds this week the busiest area has been the treatment room as the Leeds backroom staff worked to get enough fit players ready for the Arsenal game.  Lees and O'Dea appear to be the only centre backs available and they are carrying injuries.  Sill they will only have Monsieur Henry to keep quiet so there should be no worries there!  News that Kissy is out for the rest of the season is sad and it's questionable if he can recover to full match sharpness after his 2nd lengthy lay off in two years. After the flying start to the transfer window when Andros Townsend joined Leeds on loan before you could say "who will we buy this time" things have slowed up and we've had to make do with the usual diet of "strong rumours" linking unknown potential starlets with a move to Leeds.  So I'm afraid Ethel the Tea lady will remain on alert in case O'Dea or Lees fail to pass their fitness test for Monday.

Although we travel in optimistic hope on Monday it's no different to how we did last year and the year before in this competition.  I can still see that long ball from Howson over the top to Beckford on the 3rd Jan and Snoddy calmly slotting away the penalty at the Emirates. It's a long shot but we couldn't do it for a 3rd year running could we?  One thing for sure if we do you'll hear the loudest chorus of Marching On Together sung in London since the League One Play Off final! Maybe there is a bit of magic left in the cup after all?  On this one I have only one thing to say.............................
Can't wait.

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