'Sad day' - Peter Ridsdale disappointed but not surprised by FA Cup replay decision

Peter RidsdalePeter Ridsdale
Peter Ridsdale | Getty Images
FA Cup replays have been scrapped next season

Preston North End director Peter Ridsdale sees the scrapping of FA Cup replays as a ‘sad day for the history of English football’.

The FA confirmed, on Thursday, the changes that would come into play for next season’s famous domestic competition. Replays are off the cards from the first round, with all games to be played at the weekend - as part of the new six-year agreement between the FA and Premier League.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Disappointing, but I suppose it was on the cards,” Ridsdale told BBC Lancashire. “They had scrapped them, in the past few years, from the fifth round onwards I think. You only have to look at the top of the Premier League - those clubs competing in Europe, there are more games coming down the stream moving forward. While it's disappointing - I certainly wouldn't be in favour - it was almost inevitable. Because, anyone who has seen the direction it's going, we were sitting there probably expecting this to happen. There is something magical about the FA Cup.

“As a football person, I am extremely disappointed; I can't say I'm overly surprised. I know a lot of people are probably questioning how the Football League approved this - they didn't. The Football League were not party to the agreement. It is an agreement, as I understand it, between the FA - whose competition it is - and the Premier League. So yeah, a sad day for the history of English football. There are many of us who can recall stories from the past. I am sure clubs who dream of drawing a massive Premier League club at home, drawing, going back to their stadium and getting a lot of income, will be bitterly disappointed."

Ridsdale’s main frustration is not financial, more so at the damage done to the FA Cup as a football competition. Lower league clubs will no longer be able to dream of earning a replay at Old Trafford or Anfield though. Peterborough United chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, was infuriated by the decision - as he reacted on social media. And Ridsdale was not impressed to see the EFL left out of final discussions all together, either.

"Clearly, there is a disappointment we were not party to the agreement," said Ridsdale. "I am sure both the FA and Premier League will say it's not something that came out of the blue - in the sense that we were aware of discussions taking place. I think it'd be fair to say there was an awareness, but at no stage was it put to the EFL board for their decision. And of course, the EFL's decision would've been irrelevant anyway - because it's the FA's competition.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The sad thing about today isn't about how much money people may or may not have made from replays... this is about the romance of the FA Cup. That is the overriding issue for me, not whether someone is going to lose a few hundred thousand pounds from not having a replay. I am not diminishing the loss of income, but I am reiterating that football is all about the competition, romance and history - therefore today is sad."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.