Poll: Do you agree with former Norwich City boss Paul Lambert that the FA Cup is a distraction?

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

Friday, January 3, 2014
9:51 AM

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes the majority of top-flight managers would rather do without the distraction of the FA Cup.

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The former Norwich City manager will take his side into tomorrow’s third round tie against League One Sheffield United with a brutally honest message with regard to his side’s priorities.

Asked whether most of his fellow managers would prefer to avoid the prestigious competition completely, Lambert said: “If they were being honest, they probably would do.”

Lambert added: “Not just because of the money but survival in the league is vital.

“It is realistic. That is the nature of it. If anyone says any differently then I am not so sure they will be telling the truth because the Premier League is the most vital thing that anyone wants to get into and we are no different.”

Lambert is adamant his main priority is to lift VIlla away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone, having moved six points clear with Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Sunderland.

But he insisted his list of priorities did not mean he would not be going into the clash against the Blades eager to book a place in the next round.

Lambert added: “Cup competitions, if you can get through, then absolutely I want to get through. I don’t want to not get through but your main one is the league. We don’t have a massive squad and points are really important. If you are honest enough people will say the same.”

With the Canaries hosting Fulham at Carrow Road in the FA Cup tomorrow, in a repeat of a Premier League match from just nine days earlier, which the Cottagers won 2-1, do you agree that Chris Hughton’s side could do without the distraction?

Or is the pull of the world’s most famous cup competition still an exciting prospect?

Cast your vote in the poll above and leave your comments below, including your favourite memory of Norwich City in FA Cup action.

30 comments

  • Not answering the poll. Yes I feel its a distraction, but should it be? No. It use to be a something I really looked forward to watching as a child. The nerves before the draw, watching the build up all morning regardless who was in the final. I find it annoying the club expect vastly loyal season ticket holders to pay yet more on top of very pricey season tickets to watch a competition where the attitude is 100% different to the league. Just talking of resting people immediately sets the tone of "well we dont set out to lose but its not the end of the world if we do". Something has to be done to make the competition (inc the early rounds) mean more. Make teams want to progress and field a strong team. Staying in the premier league is paramount. This is obviously why people like Lambert & Hughton to an extent have such a negative attitude towards the cup. Getting to the next round of the cup isn't going to save there job if they then lose the next 3 league games or lose a star player to an injury away at Exeter in the cup etc. So tricky though as at my age (28years old), ive been a season ticket holder all my life and never been lucky enough to see us entertain a cup final let alone win one. Ive got a 2 year old boy now who WILL be a NCFC fan (if not I will be going down the DNA test avenue lol) and when hes old enough to go I wish i'd be able to tell him tales of the day I saw NCFC lift the cup at Wembley but thats not going to happen. Not while the cups viewed as it currently is (without a shed load of luck!). Was speaking to a few Wigan fans who oddly live in Suffolk the other day and none of them would swap the FA cup final win for another season in the Premier League, which surprised me! One said when hes old & wrinkley he will be able to tell his grand kids how one day he saw his side win the cup at wembley against a true giant of english football at that time. Something needs to be done to bring the magic back as while Ill always attend all league and cup games (because im a mug) I dont blame my friends and fellow ST holders who dont attend cup games.

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    Mattias333

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Without giving the matter much thought, I confess to having voted yes to the question, ‘Is the FA Cup a distraction?’. Where the survival of a club in the Premier league is paramount in this modern age , anything else is at best to be considered secondary, including the creativity of the beautiful game. But what is it exactly that we are paying for, surely not entertainment value? It seems as though one of the major disgruntlements that is often expressed, albeit in disguised form, is that even if the team does stay up, what the fans might look forward to is the stifling mediocrity of mid table football without the hope and dreams of aspiring to something better. The relatively level playing field whereby, teams such as Norwich and Ipswich once garnered the nation’s attention for a season or two has been corrupted, a cardboard cut out of its former self. Even the clubs with money are no longer satisfied. Alex Ferguson exemplified this in many ways; according to his own assessment, as soon as Man Utd had won anything, the moment was gone. The prize has become hollow. Corporate greed has replaced integrity and loyalty with prawn sandwiches. How wonderful then to see a team like Wigan lift the FA Cup, and to know that the impossible dream may yet still be alive. The FA Cup represents the last vestiges of romanticism in the modern game, those fabulous moments when Sutton United beat Coventry, Wrexham A*senal and Norwich Man Utd. If something of the beautiful game is not to be lost forever, maybe the Football Association and the Premier League should join forces to set an example as to how the game should be run, perhaps to limit the number of foreign players and foreign investment. We might then no longer be able to attract the very best players in the world, but we would surely see a far better game, and in time the national team would be something worth celebrating, and heaven knows, there is little sense of national pride anymore. Look at the price we pay for success, do we really want our teams to become like Bolton, saddled with giant millstones of debt? Mr Freezer, would you be so kind as to change my vote if its not too late please?

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Always remember Lambert was a Scot who had tasted bigger things.Why therefore should he be concerned or care about the glory of the F.A Cup. There are scores of little clubs with enthusiastic non mercenary players for whom this competition is a pathway to success. There are others in our sport besides the over priced individuals that Lambert is concerned about.. Highbury January 1954 Arsenal away City Third Div: Arsenal First Div. City victory 2-1. F.A Cup for ever.

    Report this comment

    weaver

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Depends where you place your priorities. If it is money then the FA cup for the Premier League can be seen as a distraction. If you prioritise fans then it's not a distraction but actually really important. As football at the Premier League level is now clearly a business rather than a sport it's easy to see why PL made his comments. Even more relevant for teams in the bottom half of the table as well. The top half of the table may see it differently, of course, as an alternative way into Europe that does not threaten their Premier League status.

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • If Lambert had fielded a full strength side against Leicester he may still be in a job at Carrow Road. It's always an easy cop out for manager's to say they are not interested in the cup. When they lose they already have their excuse on the table. Those old enough will remember when the whole country came to a halt on FA Cup Final day. It was only second to the World Cup Final in importance. Winning the league championship was seen as a small consolation compared to winning the Cup.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Cheers Lobbo, shocking grammar on my part but rushing on the sly at work!

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • The grass might have been greener but the hair's gone greyer.

    Report this comment

    B Inners

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Livemusic -think you are that good eh? Charlton scored both goals didn't they? An away point at Bournemouth when you were leading and the same at home the following game? Really PL material! Mattias333 - good post an agree that the magic of the FA Cup has gone and for teams in the lower half of the table it's PL survival that counts as this brings in the money. It would be nice to win it but that puts extra pressure on the winners the following season by having extra European matches. I remember when the FA Cup was the pinnacle in English football whereas now it's all about the PL and money. Things change but not necessarily for the better. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    FXT Canary

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Lambert is right in one sense, but then if Sky had not been so prominent in showing so much time to the bigger clubs, then perhaps other clubs would think more of the FA Cup, and the sponsors of the FA Cup should stipulate that if clubs continue to field weaken sides in the cup, then they will withdraw sponsorship. Villa were perhaps one of the great FA Cup teams of the past

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Three well written posts, especially 'Mattias333'

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • This is what football has become to those in the EPL, to the detraction of football as a whole in this country. It has destroyed the game as we knew it and will continue to do so while money is the god. Our national team can no longer compete at the top level. Our PL and Championship is occupied by those who cannot qualify (and do not want to) for a place in the national team. This is the state of the English game. We have the undesirables owning our clubs and ruining all that has taken a hundred years to build. Lamberts view is a trail to ruination of the English game.

    Report this comment

    willb

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Something obviously needs to be done to restore the cup to it's once rightful place as the best domestic football cup in the world. It is a shambles at the moment. Even winning it doesn't mean as much now because of teams not giving their all; I'd still love for Norwich to win the thing though!! My best cup memory was 1967 when we won at Old Trafford as a second division side, the excitement surrounding the cup back then was amazing! What is the answer? More prize money? Ensuring a whole week off before matches and afterwards? A mid season break? Starting the cup earlier in the season? As it stands i fully understand PL's thoughts and he is of course correct in saying he isn't alone. The cup started to wane when Man Ure were given permission not to take part because of their European involvement and this was many years ago now. It's sad.

    Report this comment

    pignwhistle

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • For teams like us trying to hang onto Premiership status by the skin of our teeth, the cup is an unnecessary distraction. What is the point of a good cup run followed by relegation???

    Report this comment

    Algarve Canary

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • If youre a struggling BPL club like NC and AV the FA Cup is a distraction because the FA Cup is not where the big money is. If youre a small club the FA Cup can be an important source of revenue. We should all care about small clubs therefore I disagree with PL.

    Report this comment

    Cecil

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Who really cares about Lambert, Houghton is doing a Fantastic job at bringing you down. Tractors will be swapping Divisions with you lot in May

    Report this comment

    Livemusic

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Spot on Matt, It would be great to see NCFC field a team of English players tomorrow and then go out and win with pride. Unfortunately our football has been taken over by money grabbing journeymen footballers from all over the globe, few have any real feeling for the club or the country and that includes too many managers and owners. Like a fool, I will be there as usual giving my full vocal support.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Another good post Mattias. I also cannot vote. I want to say 'no', but realistically the way things are, the cup has become a distraction and that's all wrong. I quite like GossValley's idea of bonus points for winning (or even getting to semi’s perhaps) if that would work. I'm sure someone will come up with a reason why not however. CL qualification would only keep the top 7 or 8 clubs interested however. CL for everyone else would be another distraction from the cash cow that is the EPL!

    Report this comment

    Smudger75

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Without giving the matter much thought, I confess to having voted yes to the question, ‘Is the FA Cup a distraction?’. Where the survival of a club in the Premier league is paramount in this modern age , anything else is at best to be considered secondary, including the creativity of the beautiful game. But what is it exactly that we are paying for, surely not entertainment value? It seems as though one of the major disgruntlements that is often expressed, albeit in disguised form, is that even if the team does stay up, what the fans might look forward to is the stifling mediocrity of mid table football without the hope and dreams of aspiring to something better. The relatively level playing field whereby, teams such as Norwich and Ipswich once garnered the nation’s attention for a season or two has been corrupted, a cardboard cut out of its former self. Even the clubs with money are no longer satisfied. Alex Ferguson exemplified this in many ways; according to his own assessment, as soon as Man Utd had won anything, the moment was gone. The prize has become hollow. Corporate greed has replaced integrity and loyalty with prawn sandwiches. How wonderful then to see a team like Wigan lift the FA Cup, and to know that the impossible dream may yet still be alive. The FA Cup represents the last vestiges of romanticism in the modern game, those fabulous moments when Sutton United beat Coventry, Wrexham Arsenal and Norwich Man Utd. If something of the beautiful game is not to be lost forever, maybe the Football Association and the Premier League should join forces to set an example as to how the game should be run, perhaps to limit the number of foreign players and foreign investment. We might then no longer be able to attract the very best players in the world, but we would surely see a far better game, and in time the national team would be something worth celebrating, and heaven knows, there is little sense of national pride anymore. Look at the price we pay for success, do we really want our teams to become like Bolton, saddled with giant millstones of debt? Mr Freezer, would you be so kind as to change my vote if its not too late please?

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • I agree with most. its the money from the league that is the problem. Simple but true. Also five games in a short time and now the cup. What would any manager do?

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • If it was a Champions League place on offer then it would be taken more seriously. It's not on offer, so it isn't taken that seriously.

    Report this comment

    LittleYellowBirdie

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Just a random thought but maybe if the winners of the FA cup got some bonus points on their league tally it would restore interest?

    Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Says it all, don't it. FA Cup now worthless in profi eyes. Money over sentiment and history, despite 59 cup run, League Cup in the 60's, Milk Cup with Woods, Bruce, Hartford etc and others while being relegated. Carry on, but don't expect old relics like me to either understand or sympathise, when it's sometimes the only dream we have. Why can't clubs, managers and players actually accept this is what made them what they are today - the thrill of a cup tie, a magic game away to a big club? Nah - far too boring in the money age. Sad. But maybe the FA Cup needs to modernise, rather than just mope like me? Kick the top two leagues out and let other teams play for the FA Cup, and see how that feels. There are teams who value it, and indeed need the income. Hereford v Arsenal, Leeds v Colchester - oh yeah.

    Report this comment

    Les Lee

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Who cares what Lambchops has to say? I don't. And neither do Villa fans if their forums are anything to go by.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Yeah, but... that was before seriously big money came into the game. As the FA Cup progresses fewer clubs are involved so inevitably fewer people are interested. When NCFC are knocked out I lose all interest in it. But perhaps this season we shan't be knocked out!

    Report this comment

    Cecil

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • I suspect the perspective varies according to whether you are in upper table security or hovering in or above the bottom 3 - we can't really afford the luxury of giving this competition our best players or effort on the other hand it should give some fringe players a game.

    Report this comment

    SussexYellow

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Always remember Lambert was a Scot who had tasted bigger things.Why therefore should he be concerned or care about the glory of the F.A Cup. There are scores of little clubs with enthusiastic non mercenary players for whom this competition is a pathway to success. There are others in our sport besides the over priced individuals that Lambert is concerned about.. Highbury January 1954 Arsenal away City Third Div: Arsenal First Div. City victory 2-1. F.A Cup for ever.

    Report this comment

    weaver

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Sadly ,the demise of the FA cup began with the coming of the European cups. It used to be day of intense excitement when I was young. The build up to the match began about 10 am on TV, black and white. Fergie pulling Man. Utd., out of the competition some years back showed how little the bigger clubs thought of the competition. Today it is only important to the lower divisions. As for us fans , who gives a damn what we think. Just as long as we keep gong through the turnstiles every week.

    Report this comment

    stormy

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Judging by City's results the Cup's meant nowt to us for the past 10-15 years. Yes nice to see Lambo has more grey hair than me + I'm 10 years older than him !

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • First of all you need to get past little ole Fulham who got stuffed 6 nil at hull but stuffed you at your tin pot ground so enjoy your day out against a much bigger team then your ever be

    Report this comment

    Townman

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Fair comment Mattias about the memories, I can't remember the feelings about being relegated the year we won the Milk Cup but I sure as hell remember that day out at Wembley (even though in my opinion City have never played well in the 3 league cup finals, 2 FA cup semis or the Cardiff playoff that I went to, but all memorable!)

    Report this comment

    SussexYellow

    Friday, January 3, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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