The FA’s Little Secret

The FA Carlsburg Trophy FinalIf only it registered on the FA’s Premier League-obsessed radar, the FA Trophy semi-finals would offer them something their marketing team could get their teeth into. The fact that the fixtures will drift along over the next week, mattering only to the fans of the four participants, shows how the game’s governing body makes a lot of noise about grass roots football but fails to turn words into action.

As a football fan, could you ask for more than these two match-ups? Wrexham against Torquay is too close to call: two sides separated by a handful of points in the top division of non-league football, both of which having shown snatches of promise this year and playing themselves back into form after losing league form either side of Christmas.

In the other tie we have two lower divisions sides, both going well, looking to live the dream and get to Wembley where the possibility of a massive upset is on the cards. Come on, if you can’t market the romance of North Ferriby going to the home of football then you’re not trying!

Both ties take place over the course of eight days, so there’s no frustrating repeat of the bloated format the Champions League has been showcasing this week, with ties stretched over the best part of a month: if a tie’s intriguingly poised like PSG against Chelsea you’ll have to wait three weeks to see what happens no matter how keen you are to watch the rematch, while a dead tie like Real Madrid versus Schalke will still rumble unnecessarily on for ages before the Germans are finally put out of their misery. No such stodginess afflicts the Trophy though: if you enjoyed the first leg, get along to the second in a week! It’s the ideal two-legged format, and one the FA would do well to promote.

Sadly, there are no celebrity names to attach to the games, so we’ll soldier on in relative privacy.

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