It’s the first weekend of January and in footballing world it can only mean one thing, the FA cup third round begins and brings giants of English football up against some of the minnows. People often refer to it as the romance of the FA cup.
As for Newcastle it has been anything but romantic, and in the last 4 years it has been nothing short of a horror story. In 2008-09, Newcastle lost to Hull city at home in the 3rd round replay. It got subsequently worse with United losing to West Bromwich Albion and then to Stevenage Borough in the 3rd round again in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.
Last year the hopes were high with United having a good season and with a reasonable draw. However hopes were quickly dashed with a 4th round exit away to Brighton and Hove Albion. To say that we should be doing better would be an understatement.
This year there are a lot of variables in the mix with Magpies currently enduring one of their worst runs in the league with only two wins in last 10 and did not win any of their last 3 Europa league games to boot. Injuries too have been piling on and the treatment table has been full.
Newcastle have a real proud history in the FA cup having won the cup 6 times. The of these trophies however, come over half a century ago in 1955. The last decent cup run that the Magpies enjoyed was in the 2004-05 season when we reached the semifinal before losing 4-1 to Manchester United.
I am of the opinion that Europa League is one of our priorities this season given how we have been playing. Just where that leaves the FA cup in pecking order I am not too sure. What I would want is for Pardew to take this competition seriously. It can really help not just our younger players but also those more senior who have struggled to impress this season gain more confidence.
One could however also argue that with the Magpies in such poor form in the league,we should be resting our more important players for these games. The cup is just a distraction and should not be regarded as a top priority.
As mentioned earlier I am of a different opinion and really think that a good run can really kick start Newcastle’s 2013 and who’s to say come May we can’t win it. I certainly hope that we are in it to win it and we show that from the outset today against Brighton.