Every year some pundit starts to question whether the FA Cup has “lost it’s magic”, and every year that same pundit chokes on his microphone as games like yesterday’s match at Selhurst Park, reaffirms the FA Cup’s place in the hearts of players and fans alike.
The 2-2 draw between cash-strapped Crystal Palace and fourth-place premiership contenders Aston Villa had all the ingredients of a great cup tie – sublime individual skill, a “David Vs Goliath” match up, and of course, controversy. which leads me to the subject of this post – Neil Warnock.
Now Warnock divides opinion amongst football fans, you either love him or you hate him, personally I am in the first camp so when I read his latest rant about assistant referee Trevor Massey I whole heartedly agreed with him.
If you didn’t see the game, Palace were 2-1 up after a stunning 35-yard free-kick from Darren Ambrose that dipped and swerved and bamboozled Villa keeper Brad Friedel.
Palace looked like seeing out an important win both for footballing and financial reasons until the 87th minute when Villa were wrongly awarded a corner kick. As Speroni made a great save from a John Carew header, the ball cannoned off the head of Nathan Delfouneso and out for a goal kick, or so everyone thought. Unfortunately for Palace (and Neil Warnock’s heart) linesman Trevor Massey proceeded to advise referee Kevin Friend to award a corner kick to Villa, which they then scored from.
Now Warnock has come out and said that he hopes Massey is suspended “for a long time” and I have to agree with him. I understand that everyone makes mistakes but when the mistake is that expensive to a club like Crystal Palace it becomes more than just a case of winning or losing.
Only time will tell whether there will repercussions for Warnock, but, whether you love him or hate him you’ve got to admire the man’s passion, a passion which, I think, encapsulates the Football League. Lets just hope Palace win at Villa Park and then Warnock can get back to doing what he does best – giving us hilarious quotes like this one…
When manager of Sheffield United, a reporter asked him what he would do if he was the manager of their fierce city rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Warnock replied:
“I would buy some bad players, get the sack and then retire to Cornwall”
*In other news I watched Cheltenham Town’s 1-1 draw with Barnet at Underhill and came away with nothing but a realisation that in Barry Hayles and Julian Alsop we must have the fattest, slowest strike partnership in the Football League – answers on a postcard if you can prove me wrong.