It isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea to say that Mike Ashley doesn’t appear to be very interested in the FA Cup.

However, as we move into yet another football free weekend for Newcastle fans, I do think there are other worrying aspects to our sorry FA Cup story.

It is bad enough a club owner giving up on the FA Cup but I have a feeling that there is a creeping sense of supporters doing the same thing.

FA Cup  crowds have already dipped from the pre-Ashley days and I wonder just how many would turn up whenever Newcastle next get a home draw. It was 31,166 against Cardiff 13 months ago and unless United pulled an attractive tie out of the hat then you could only see it going south of that figure next time.

I think it is especially worrying where younger Newcastle fans are concerned, what does the FA Cup mean to them?

If you are around 25 or younger, then you have grown up in an era where you are constantly bombarded with the message that the Champions League is where it’s at, with the FA Cup a very poor relation.

So if then on top of that you add the last nine years (see below) of going out six times at the first attempt (3rd Round) and the other three at the second attempt (4th Round).

If you are in that 25 or younger age group you must pretty much wonder what the more mature Newcastle fans are going on about.

For slightly older fans, in fact anybody who came after the Supermac era, I have a horrible feeling that our equivalent of the old-timers’ golden age in the 50s, will be near miss period of 1998-2006, on six out of nine occasions we got at least to the sixth round and had two semi-finals and a couple of finals to ‘enjoy’.

Just like the apathy and grim acceptance that has settled over the home crowds in the Premier League in recent times, something which has very much accelerated this season.

It definitely feels to me as though Newcastle supporters simply see the FA Cup as an abstract idea, something that we haven’t really got anything to do with.

I find myself increasingly detached and if like the last round I do end up catching any part of it on TV, it feels like I’m watching foreign teams playing. I can enjoy the match but I don’t consciously think about it as being linked with NUFC

In John Carver’s short period in charge so far, it appears obvious to me that by far the biggest mistake he’s made was in his handling of the Leicester 3rd Round FA Cup tie.

We’ll never know for sure exactly how ‘injured’ players were, but the Head Coach really set himself up for a fall when he came out all guns blazing and claimed he would be putting out the strongest possible side.

Almost four and a half thousand fans travelled, absolutely astonishing support, only to then find that pretty much all of Newcastle’s best players were not in the team and there were seven changes from the previous match.

Sadly, while Mike Ashley remains at the club I see no chance of any change in policy.

While the fact that the easy to see revenue isn’t brilliant in the FA Cup in terms of prize money and associated cash benefits, I think the TV situation is behind Ashley’s ruthless cup policy.

The TV coverage, especially overseas, that the FA Cup gets compared to the Premier League is miniscule. So a bit of a waste of time when it comes to promoting the rest of his business empire on the back of Newcastle United.

Maybe the most obvious sign that Newcastle United is in the initial stages of long-term recovery will be when the FA Cup is talked about enthusiastically once again and even younger people are thinking of it as something special where NUFC are concerned.

Newcastle United exit point each season:

3rd Round 2014/15

3rd Round 2013/14

3rd Round 2012/13

4th Round 2011/12

3rd Round 2010/11

4th Round 2009/10

3rd Round 2008/09

4th Round 2007/08

3rd Round 2006/07

6th Round 2005/06

Semi-Final 2004/05

4th Round 2003/04

3rd Round 2002/03

6th Round 2001/02

3rd Round 2000/01

Semi Final 1999/2000

Final 1998/99

Final 1997/98

  • Cornflake

    Here in Canada, unless you subscribe to the paid channel (close to $20/month), you won’t see much of the FA cup matches other than replays later in the evening (and even on the paid channel, they only show a select few).
    It’s important to me, strictly from the fact that I find weekends like this empty in my mornings when I would normally be watching a game.

  • Brownale69

    its all down to ££££.

  • whickhamrobbie

    tell me ma me ma ,I wont be home for tea bellows out as the mags score to take the lead in the cup AHH those were the days back in the old second division wandering if we could progress at least a couple of rounds sadly now no one cares as its about top 4 blah blah blahblah , staying up blah blah ,resting players blah blah . The cup was always our highlight even if it was only one round (remember Exeter replay)took 4 days to get home.
    The cup is dead but at least the BBC are trying to rustle up interest sadly though fat Mike wont take any notice.

  • DavidDrape

    60y in may this year since last domestic trophy – maybe worth paying tribute to that squad come may 2015

  • Nicolaus Copernicus

    I was luck to be a seventeen-year old in our’ 74 cup run. I attended all the home games and the away games in the 5th, 6th and semi-final rounds (my 6th round replay being the drab 0-0 Goodison draw with Forest on the Monday night, playing hooky from school). Many years have passed, and hundreds of matches taken in in between then and now, but the 3-0 win at West Brom that year still stands as my favourite Newcastle game of all time. Jinky Jim came on as an early substitute and he was magnificent.

  • LeazesEnder

    Nicolaus Copernicus I was there, I remember the 5th round West Brom away for one special thing, not the 3-0 win but the ‘Howay the Lads’ chant’ which we kept going on and on!  Then the 6th round … the fans carried the side to Wembley from that moment at the Hawthorns! but we couldn’t do it in the final….

  • shadsdad

    Seeing Supermac score at hillsborough in the semi against Burnley having sprinted umpteen yards with Waldron the Burnley centre half hanging onto him is my favourite memory.
    Also seeing the’55 Final on telly as a 7 year old which started a love affair of 60 years and counting!