It was inevitable really. We’re in the English system, and whereas when we used to compete in the competition its fixtures were arranged in midweek around our league commitments, now we’re outsiders, having to fit the games in around the Welsh calendar. And that’s how it should be. Airbus are totally within their rights to demand that the game is played at the weekend, when their part-time players are all available and able to prepare fully, and if we want to have our Welsh Cup cake and eat it, we have to accept it as it is. The alternative would be to arrogantly stride in and demand it changes for our benefit; and then probably pick our reserves anyway. I’d like to think we’re moving away from being that sort of club.
Anyway, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had to play two games in a day. Back in 1893 a Welsh Cup semi-final clashed with a Combination League game away to Dresden United. The solution we came up with then showed how the game has changed subsequently as it has got more organised: local team Westminster Rovers played the league game on our behalf, losing 3-1 in Wrexham’s name, while the cup tie, played at Flint, saw our regular team beat Llandudno Swifts 2-1. We went on to beat Chirk in the final as well, so hopefully playing two games in a day again will lead to a similar outcome!
The official site has laid out the details for the decision in forensic detail, It all makes perfect sense, although it’s still a little disappointing to know that fans who travel to Tamworth or Brentford, the ones who’d like to see the return to the Welsh Cup most, will be the ones to miss out. Perhaps it could have been an evening kick-off, opening up the possibility of a footy marathon for hardcore fans if they were making their way back from the Midlands rather than London, but the decision has now been made.
As I wrote when the news broke that we were being readmitted to the Welsh Cup, we were always likely to select under-strength teams in the early rounds at least. We’ll probably not find out much about the youngsters who play in the cup, but at least it’ll be a great day for the statisticans, as swathes of debutants line up and the club records for youngest player and scorer are challenged! I’ll get my anorak!