FA Cup Once Again Proves Its Worth After Fantastic Weekend

Andrew JordanSenior Writer IJanuary 8, 2012

CARDIFF - MAY 3:  The FA Cup trophy sits proudly on the pitch as a groundsman makes final preparations for the final of the FA Cup during the AXA FA Cup Preview held at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on May 3, 2002. (Photo by: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Back when the FA Cup was created back in 1871, no one thought that the competition would see the highlights and history that it was poised to create.

The FA Cup grew from a small competition to a competition that English and Welsh clubs would compete in. Some Scottish clubs did compete in the competition in the 19th century, but a Scottish club never won the competition.

Throughout the 20th century, there were always fantastic matches, such as the Matthews final of 1955, Sunderland defeating Leeds in the 1973 final and the classic Arsenal vs. Manchester United semifinal in 1999, just to name a few.

The first time that the FA Cup was really challenged was when then-defending champion Manchester United decided to drop out of the competition in late 1999 to compete in the inaugural FIFA World Club Championship.

That was the first (and only time) that a defending champion has attempted to retain the trophy, yet the FA Cup and its spirit have continued to live on.

In the days going into the third round of the FA Cup, there were stories throughout the football universe about the FA Cup.

There was an article on ESPN that featured former Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder Steve McManaman, who now works for the network.

In the article McManaman discussed how important the FA Cup was to him, saying quotes such as "It [the FA Cup] meant everything" and "I was lucky enough to get to Wembley twice in the competition and I would have loved to have done it many more times."

McManaman was involved in the last match between City and United in the FA Cup
McManaman was involved in the last match between City and United in the FA CupAlex Livesey/Getty Images

Even though McManaman has not played in years, his spirit toward the FA Cup is still one that has not been lost.

This past weekend proved that the spirit still is there, especially with sides such as Swindon (who defeated Wigan Athletic), Macclesfield Town (who drew with Bolton) and MK Dons (who drew with QPR).

This is the one true chance for these clubs to face and possibly beat some of the biggest clubs in the world.

Even if they are having a miserable season, getting a chance to defeat a gigantic club is something that the clubs' supporters will remember forever.

However, none of these matches lived up to the pre-match billing of the two best clubs in England, Manchester City and Manchester United, facing off in a third-round match in what was a historic Manchester Derby.

Going into the match, we saw United's legendary midfielder Paul Scholes join the squad on the bench and Manchester United beat their arch rival 3-2.

Even though United have not won an FA Cup since 2004, you could tell throughout the match that they wanted to win and beat their rivals.

The truth is that no matter who is playing or whoever they are facing, the FA Cup always seems to have something for everyone.

Upsets, big games, star players, players coming out of retirement, rivalries. The FA Cup brings a sort of excitement that the Premier League can never bring us.

Whenever you are in a single elimination match, anything can happen. Throughout the last several days, we have some incredible highlights emerge that have just continued to highlight the FA Cup's magic.

That is why the FA Cup matters.

Follow me on Twitter @Andrew_Jordan