1. Guarantee David v Goliath in the 3rd Rd
To spice up the early rounds, every Premier League team must play away from home in the 3rd Rd to a lower league team. Keep the PL teams apart, then we should get an end to the reserve sides of Southampton and Arsenal meeting in the 3rd Rd. P.s the smaller team keep the gate and TV money.
2. Scrap bloody replays
The last thing some teams need at this time of the season is more matches in a fixture pileup. Steve McClaren summed it all up as his Derby side played Leicester a few years back as they made 18 changes between them in the 4th round, “We didn’t need this replay, Leicester didn’t need this replay”. There you go. Decide all games on the day, ninety minutes then penalties, no extra time.
3. No League fixtures within 7 days
The last FA Cup round saw a host of Premier League clubs make wholesale changes with a round of Premier League fixtures just days away. Liverpool were defeated at home by Wolves as they made 10 changes in preparation for the visit of Chelsea 3 days later. More time between games will see less changes. Protect the FA Cup, give it space.
4. Increase the prize money
The FA only rewards £67,500 to teams who make it through the 3rd Round. How much renewed emphasis would there be in cup competitions if there was a greater financial incentive?
5. Move the semi finals away from Wembley
I hate Wembley semi-finals. The pitiful ticket allocations, poor atmosphere and long journeys make FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley an absolute joke. Since 2008, all FA Cup semi-finals have taken place at the “Home of Football” to try and generate a bit more cash but it creates a logistical nightmare. Last season saw Manchester United and Everton travel all the way down to London with limited trains home. Crazy. The likes of Reading, Sheffield United, Bolton Wanderers, Barnsley, Blackburn Rovers and Millwall have all been beaten semi-finalists and had their day out at Wembley, so it’s no wonder it’s a little less special if everyone gets to go. It’s more sacred if Wembley is saved for the big day; for the finalists.