Time to move FA Cup third-round weekend away from congested period - Sue Smith

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin (left) and Liverpool's Yasser Larouci battle for the ball during the FA Cup third round match at Anfield (Picture: PA)
Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin (left) and Liverpool's Yasser Larouci battle for the ball during the FA Cup third round match at Anfield (Picture: PA)
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It saddens me when some clubs go into the FA Cup half-hearted.

I totally understand why some managers do it because of the time the games are being played, but I am just a bit of a traditionalist.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

I wish it went back to the way it used to be where if you could not win the league, lifting the Cup was the next best thing.

Maybe the Football Association need to think about moving the third round so it is not straight on the back of the busiest league period of the season.

The FA Cup final used to be a big event. You would sit on your sofa in your kit watching it all day, and if you were lucky enough to actually get a ticket, it would be the best day ever.

I have been fortunate enough to play in an FA Cup final, and I know the women’s version is not exactly the same but it was such an exciting occasion.

It was great to go on cup runs and I speak to male pundits now who are quite envious because they never experienced that.

Sue Smith

It was great to go on cup runs and I speak to male pundits now who are quite envious because they never experienced that.

When I cover the very early rounds as a television commentator I see how massive it is for non-league clubs. Attendances can double or treble, and a good run can keep even the League One and Two clubs going financially for two or three years.

You could see how much it meant to one of my old clubs, Tranmere Rovers, to take Watford to a replay after being 3-0 down.

There has been talk this week about cutting out replays and I think there is a case for it if both teams agree to that beforehand. The last thing Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United, for example, wanted was a replay on Wednesday. But it would be wrong to take that pay-day away from clubs like Tranmere and Rochdale.

Tranmere Rovers's Stefan Payne (left) and Watford's Bayli Spencer-Adams battle for the ball during the FA Cup third round match at Vicarage Road (Picture: PA)

Tranmere Rovers's Stefan Payne (left) and Watford's Bayli Spencer-Adams battle for the ball during the FA Cup third round match at Vicarage Road (Picture: PA)

Now it seems teams would rather finish in the top half of the league than go on a cup run. Could they not go hand in hand?

It just seems like the magic has gone a little bit.

I understand the pull of qualifying for the Champions League, but the clubs in contention for that usually have squads that can fight on more than one front.

For the sides involved in relegation battles, the atmosphere around the ground is so much better when you are doing well in a cup. That surely helps your league form.

Managers always say they have selected a team they think can win but I think sometimes they know underneath they have not and if they go out, it is not the end of the world.

Having said that, I do not think for a second Jurgen Klopp thought his inexperienced Liverpool team would beat what was pretty much a full-strength Everton, and yet it is the Reds in the fourth round.

I understand why some teams are worried about relegation or desperate for promotion, but there are others you just think should go for it. The momentum can be a big help.