COLUMN: BBC should have bucked the trend and shown a '˜proper' FA Cup tie

Surely there's already enough TV exposure for Premier League sides?

Monday, 18th January 2016, 8:45 am
Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, The Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper, Gainsborough Trinity v Shrewsbury Town, The Northolme, 08/11/15, K.O 2pm The BBC camera at the Gainsborough v Shrewsbury Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

You’d think so given the recently-agreed record deal and the sheer amount of games that are already on the box?

However, it appears not.

Not if you’re the BBC that is.

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The FA Cup third round brought with it some romantic and entertaining fixtures.

But of all the games the Beeb could choose to show on its prime Sunday teatime slot, they opted for Tottenham versus Leicester.

That’s two of the top four in the top flight.

They didn’t opt for non-league Eastleigh against struggling Championship side Bolton.

Nor did they choose to send Gary Lineker and co. to Oxford United or Doncaster Rovers for their clashes with Premier League pair Swansea and Stoke City respectively.

Instead, they chose what was effectively a second string from both sides as they warmed up for the ‘main event’ which was their league meeting just four days later.

The third round of the Cup shouldn’t be treated with contempt.

It should be cherished and that doesn’t mean using it as an excuse to broadcast a live Premier League game for free.

I’m pretty sure most punters would rather have watched a blood and thunder cup tie over an all-top flight game.

Which makes the decision for the Beeb to broadcast the replay between the Foxes and Spure even more disheartening.

Showing the Eastleigh v Bolton replay would have been arguably a better watch for the public and would also have been a decent cash injection for both sides after their original third round snub.

However, it’s not just the decisions of the TV executives that has fallen under the spotlight.

The concept of scrapping replays often rears its head when fixture pile-ups hit in January.

On one hand the replays provide so-called ‘smaller’ clubs with hugely important funds but for every one of those there is the situation that Carlisle find themselves in.

They must make a huge round trip to Yeovil on a Tuesday night for a place in the fourth round.

That game won’t be televised and it will seem a long way from the glamour of the Cup - especially if they bow out.

One thinks that this is where the concept of replays does clubs no favours at all.