Bradford City at home in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup? That will do me just fine.
Over the past decade or so, we’ve drawn a series of Premiership teams in the 3rd Round, most of them from London: since 1999 we’ve gone out at the first time of asking to Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton, Fulham, Bolton and Chelsea (twice). The board may have been grateful for the gate money, but the logic doesn’t hold. Surely the whole point of a cup competition is that the further you progress, the more money you make?
On the occasions when we’ve been presented with a fairly straightforward 3rd Round draw, it’s been a lot more fun. A 2-0 away win at Macclesfield in 2003 was the start of a run that led us all the way to the semis, as was a 4-1 home defeat of Stockport in 2007. Both were both more enjoyable, and more profitable, than losing in the 3rd Round to a Premiership club that can’t even be bothered to play their best team in the early rounds, as so often happens.
So bring on Bradford, 22nd in League Two at the time of writing, and surely beatable by a Watford team that slowly seems to be finding its feet. And after that, let’s have another easy home draw in the 4th Round, and so on for as long as possible. Because that’s the other thing about cup runs: once the FA Cup is over for another year, no one remembers who you beat and by what score, only what round you reached. That’s the only figure that matters.