Alex Ferguson has been lambasted by Fleet Street's finest for disrespecting the FA Cup and Everton with his team selection in the semifinal.
A moment's thought (something that even the rag writers at Fleet Street lack) at their response would imply the following:
Had Ferguson played his full strength side they would have won against Everton who are currently sixth in the Premier League. No disrespect shown to Everton there, who would have only turned up to lose and have their day in the sun.
United with their full strength side have played Everton twice this season and have won 1-0 and drawn 1-1. So the performance of yesterday's "under-strength" side was not dissimilar to the "full strength" side.
The real disrespect was shown by the rag writers who assumed United would win against Everton, leaving them to write numerous articles of a United v. Chelsea "Clash of the Titans."
As they were now denied this epic battle, they blamed it on Ferguson's team selection. Yet a quick look at United performances at the new Wembley will show that United have only scored one goal in five matches.
1) FA Cup Final: United 0-1 Chelsea
2) Community Shield: United 1-1 Chelsea
3) Communtiy Shield: United 0-0 Portsmouth
4) Carling Cup Final: United 0-0 Spurs
5) FA Cup Semifinal: United 0-0 Everton
If anyone is to be blamed, then blame Riley for poor decisions throughout the match, which could have changed the outcome. Or blame the penalty takers who missed their penalties.
But for football fans, the ones who have disrespected the FA Cup the most, are the FA themselves.
After the shambles of building the new Wembley, all £750m, the FA needed to find the money to pay for their white elephant. So instead of only playing the final at Wembley we will now be forced to watch turgid semifinals at Wembley for the next 30 years. The pinnacle of reaching the final of the FA Cup was having your day at Wembley. Now you can have it after winning in the quarters.
To cover the massive cost, the FA have decided to open Wembley to all sports from Rugby, NFL, Pop Concerts, and even Sports Car Racing events. The outcome of this over use is that the pitch has been relaid five times in a little over two years and will be relaid again this summer.
The FA have sold themselves to the highest bidder. They have the massive debt of Wembley to repay and as long as they can continue short changing football fans there behaviour will go unpunished.
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