Woking FC, FA Youth Cup and the haves and have nots

Clive Youlton

By Clive Youlton

Camberley Town have an amazing draw


So, the FA Youth Cup. It’s baffling.

Those clubs considered elite, such as Woking, because their first team come under the elite banner, can continue to play their matches against other elite clubs during this lockdown period.

Hence we have arrived at the third round stage and Woking go to Brighton & Hove Albion next round.

But, here’s the puzzler. Unlike in the actual FA Cup, where clubs who are non-elite are able to continue training and play in the competition over lockdown two, in the FA Youth Cup, they cannot.

We therefore have a backlog of matches as elite clubs already through to the third round wait for the rest to catch up.

For instance, Combined Counties Premier outfit Camberley Town have been drawn away to Liverpool. I know, right? Liverpool! What a draw. Except they have yet to play Bristol Rovers in the first round and, should they get through, they have to negotiate their way past Sutton United in the second.

It’s a bit like having to throw a double to start a board game. The Davids can’t manage it and are left lagging behind while the Goliaths march serenely on their way around the board sniggering at the little people.

Surely in the interests of fairness, the FA should have suspended the competition for all. You either play it, or you don’t?

Allowing the bigger clubs to continue surely gives them an advantage given they are allowed to play league matches too and therefore keep up their match fitness.
It’s simply not fair on the smaller clubs like Camberley, who incidentally play in the same Isthmian Youth League as their Woking counterparts, albeit in a different division.

Met Police, not quite the minnows Camberley are, also have a disadvantage as they wait to tackle Swindon in the second round prior to a potential match against Portsmouth, although there are other sides left on Pompey’s side of that draw.
To emphasise the point, how about this for a third round draw?  Stoke City vs – wait for it – Burton Albion, Worcester City, Mansfield Town or the wonderfully named Bugbrooke St Michaels. It’s a nonsense really.

Oh and another thing, while we are on the subject of the FA.
As most people know, the FA Cup prize money has been drastically reduced this season. It’s just about cut in half, which, during these times of crisis, you can understand.

But the bit I don’t get, still, is the sum handed out to the semi-final losers. This season it is £450,000.
So you get through to the semis and you bag £360,000 for winning your quarter-final. A piffling sum for the clubs who reach that stage of course but why then give them an extra £450,000 for losing the next game? In other words, just for turning up.

Surely more could be given to the smaller clubs in the earlier rounds.
Perhaps the likes of Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea got…

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