Newcastle's cup apathy drawing ire of fans

Posted by Lee Ryder

Just because Newcastle United's board of directors do not feel that the domestic cups are a priority, it does not make last night's League Cup exit against Manchester City any easier for the Toon Army.

- Report: City edge past Toon

In fact, it makes it worse. It is incredible to think that such a mentality exists in some ways.
How can you not be interested in a trip to Wembley, the joy of breaking a trophy drought that shows no signs of letting up or even a fast-track entry in Europe?

Older fans will tell you that this football club used to thrive on cup competitions, especially the FA Cup.

In fact, take a tour around St James' Park and there are cabinets stuffed with memorabilia of the great FA Cup wins that are -- granted -- such a long time ago.

But that doesn't mean that the cups aren't important. Fans still talk about trips to Wembley more than a decade ago now. Even in the 1990s two FA Cup final appearances and a run to the semi-finals under Bobby Robson had fans excited.

Toon legend Alan Shearer even stated that many fans would like to see United win the FA Cup more than the league title at one stage. Not that there's much of a choice these days on that score.
The League Cup may not be steeped in such tradition, but every United fan knows it is the best chance of glory given some sides play an understrength side. This was a theory that Alan Pardew said he didn't understand.

However, given that Newcastle won't win the Premier League this season and have been shocking in the FA Cup in recent years, it is straight-forward.

By the same token, he also admitted last season that he had a "black mark" against his name after poor performances in cups since taking over. Some fans felt that United made a decent fist of taking on City last night.

Although, despite a plucky first half and a battling second 45 minutes, you have to wonder what would happen if United had played a full strength side.

We have heard from the manager that he HAS to use the cups to blood younger players and squad players. The downside is that keeping Loic Remy, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa on the bench means you surrender or potentially surrender your place in the cups.

Yet there is a perfectly good loan system in operation to Football League clubs and as the old saying goes: "If you're good enough you're old enough." And so United limped out after extra time.
It's all about the Premier League from now until January. But was there a chance last night?
Yes and no.

United pressed hard, but from my position, I could see it coming in many ways -- the visitors were always in control.

City sprayed the ball from right to left then left to right for long periods. They had the quality on the ball and had quality on the bench to boot. United had a lot of chasing to do and eventually ran out of energy in doing so.

That didn't mean that Pardew's post-game comments of "tired legs" went down well with fans, though.
Indeed, sadly, this was looked upon as another wasted opportunity. There will be no emulation of Swansea City like last year and the FA Cup is the only real chance of glory once again.

Sadly, a lot of fans saw this coming.

But only when Man City or indeed Leicester City are celebrating a place in the semi-finals will it really sink in.


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