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Tin-pot competition

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Paul Lambert has taken plenty of stick from the Villa fans for his less than enthusiastic attitude towards the FA Cup, but let''s be honest, he''s absolutely right.

Very few clubs in the PL give it the time of day. Those clubs playing in Europe, and all the clubs involved in the relegation battle now use the competition as an opportunity to rest key players, or a chance to give squad players a full ninety minutes. If truth be told, Luton could have done without their cup run last season as it probably cost them promotion.

The gloss is often taken off any ''giant-killing acts'' because if the beaten team is from the PL, it will pretty much be a reserve side that has been beaten.

Having sold themselves to ITV, the television coverage is appalling. There were six ties today and only two of them kicked-off at the same time. As far as I am aware, only one game was covered on terrestrial, with obviously none available on Sky.

The FA should take a leaf out of the Carling Cup book. Ties seem to be played midweek. All ties are settled on the night, which ensures you don''t get draws with the ridiculous scenario of :- Birmingham or Bristol Rovers or Crawley v Manchester United or Swansea ....and that''s before any snow has fallen.

The decision to play the two semi-finals at Wembley only serves to demean the competition. A team only has to win four games to be rewarded with a Wembley visit - a rich reward for coming 3rd and 4th.

I suppose the only thing it has going for it is that it offers PL teams a winter break, with two ties scheduled to be played in January.

The rich history of the competition is being devalued by its current format.

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