The Week That Was

The big freeze is on and at the minute it seems a bit of a lottery as to which games will go ahead. At the time of writing the Guardian reports that only three games are left on in Leagues One and Two, while the games at Fulham, Burnley and Sunderland have been postponed too.

Numerous Championship and non-league games are going as well, and games are being called off all the time. If you’ve got a long trip to watch your team over the weekend, fingers crossed for you. Credit to Arsenal, too, who’ve promised to refund Bolton fans’ travel costs following their aborted trip to the Emirates, hopefully they extend this to their provincial supporters as well.

It does seem though that the slightest hint of snow and games are called off nowadays. It’s not necessarily the clubs’ fault either, it costs them an arm and a leg to postpone and rearrange after all. Imagine how many prawn sandwiches must go off? It’s pretty often the local council, police and safety quangos making the decisions for us. Whatever happened to individual autonomy, eh?

Let us know your stories from the weekend's cancellations - were you subject to a last minute decision, or have you known for days that your game has been off? Were you stranded on the way to the ground? What have you been getting up to with no football to watch? Email us!

Anyway, before we go into a grumpy old man-style rant about the weather, we’ll move swiftly on.

It was pretty timely however that in a week when Britain was covered under a blanket of snow it should be a team in all white who stole the headlines. We’ve heard from plenty of happy Yorkshire men (and even the occasional pessimistic Manc) who lumped on Leeds at 18/1 too.

Jermaine Beckford added a few quid on to his upcoming transfer fee with a lively display that saw him grab the winner. He was a bit of an internet sensation a few years back to after scoring this peach while on loan at Scunthorpe. We post it for no other reason than it’s an absolute corker to be honest. Well worth a watch.

Old Trafford aside, last week’s third round saw some pretty poor attendances, with just over 5,000 attending the Wigan-Hull all Premier League tie being the most blatant example, although it’s maybe unfair to highlight any one fixture as there are plenty of other examples too.
 
As is now tradition we had the ‘magic of the Cup’ panic with some media self-flagellation always a favourite at this time of the year. We put it down to guilt over all those failed New Year resolutions, ours included. All sorts of reasons for lower attendances were cited and many – weather, recession, football’s over exposure – did contain an element of truth.

Ever since United were allowed/forced to duck the 2000 FA Cup to play in the World Club Championship and strengthen England’s failed World Cup 2006 bid, it’s been a downward spiral.

We’re now in a position where even mid-table Premier League and Championship clubs play reserve teams in order not to risk losing out on the £50m windfall that comes along with staying up/going up.

So if the clubs don’t take it at all seriously, why would fans? Sure, we stuck it out for a while but how long can the myth continue? There’s only magic in something if it’s treated in a genuinely unique manner. There’s no magic bullet but something has to be done between the clubs, Premier League, Football League and FA before the competition’s X Factor is lost forever.

You may have noticed that we’ve spent most of The Week That Was rattling on about the Cup and snow but have singularly failed to acknowledge the week’s real news – the plights of Notts County and Portsmouth.

It feels like every other week we hear reports that another club’s about to hit the rocks and the situation at both clubs is ridiculous. No one seems to really have a clue who actually runs Portsmouth and now it seems the club’s non-executive chairman, Sulaiman Al Fahim, may even be willing to hand over his 10 per cent stake in the club to the newly formed Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

Over at Notts County and things are equally as baffling. Messrs Eriksson and Grip might well follow in Sol’s footsteps as it becomes increasingly apparent that when they looked the cupboards were bare.

Warnings from the Guardian's David Conn and beyond that County’s new Arab owners may not be the Golden Goose went unheeded and now things are looking decidedly dodgy for the Magpies. The ex-director of County’s supporters’ trust last month expressed his regret at giving the club away, as Supporters’ Direct had predicted they would.

Is it going to take a Premier League club going under before real action is taken?

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