Has the FA Cup lost its magic? Can it rediscover its greatness? Does the modern day footballer respect the tournaments traditions? These are just some of the questions that I put to Kevin Keegan at the launch of the ESPN’s Cup Of Dreams POLL at Stamford Bridge.
Kevin Keegan is no stranger to FA Cup glory, having scored in what he described as the most one sided cup final in recent memory; however when questioned whether the competition had lost its magic Keegan refused to believe it had, citing Stevenage and Crawley as his case points:
“You only have to look at Graham Westley that it is here today and the giant strides he has made with Stevenage this season. They face Newcastle at the weekend and you try and tell me that their players haven’t been excited at the prospect of playing one of the biggest Premier League teams in England. It’s games like that and Crawley beating all these League teams to get to the 3rd Round that makes it magical. It is a fantastic competition and still remains to be the greatest domestic club competition in the World.”
I asked Keegan as to whether that despite playing and managing in an era when the FA Cup took a greater significance in the domestic calendar as to whether the modern day footballer really appreciated and understood the value of the competition; “I would also make it known to my teams how important the FA Cup was, the trip to Wembley and I’ll always make sure that I fielded as strong an XI that I had possible in order to win the match and progress in the competition. I can only speak for the players under my watch and I can guarantee that everyone knew what the Cup was about and more importantly how much this competition means to the fans. Some managers may field weakened teams, but I would never allow that to happen”
To find out more about ESPN Cup of Dreams Poll and pick your greatest FA Cup XI then click here