It looks we will have the luxury of 3pm Saturday kick-off again in the FA Cup but there won’t be any live television coverage. Setanta and ITV have released the list of games for TV coverage:
Friday 23 January 2009 (7.45pm, Setanta Sports)
Derby County v Nottingham Forest
Bet East Midlands please will be chuffed with this decision. Despite the potential for trouble, this does look like a cracking tie. Billy Davies going back to Derby as the new manager of Forest and, possibly, Nigel Clough – son of Brian – as the new Derby boss. And there’s the fact that these two local rivals are locked together in a relegation scrap at the bottom of the Championship.
Saturday 24 January 2009 (12.40pm, ITV1)
Hartlepool United v West Ham United
Forgive me – and Hartlepool have done fantastically well to reach the fourth round, as well as being given just reward – but surely a non-league side against a team in the top of the Premier League is a fixture worthy of some terresterial exposure? I can’t help thinking that if the Beeb were still screening the Cup fixtures we’d be sone of the games selected. Still, there must be a chance of an upset here given Hartlepool’s track record this year of knocking out Premier League opponents.
Saturday 24 January 2009 (5.15pm, ITV1)
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
Yawn. Maybe I’m the only one turned off by this tie. Manchester United are the FA Cup team – that is, they would be, if they didn’t win everything else in sight. Good ol’ Sir Alex Ferugson with his wonderful managerial record and those fine young ambassadors for the game (Rooney and Ronaldo). Throw in the mix loveable ‘Arry, soon to be reunited with Jermain Defoe, and Spurs’ Cup history and you’ve got a passable Cup tie but it’s not one that sets my pulse racing.
Sunday 25 January 2009
Cardiff City v Arsenal (1.30pm, Setanta Sports)
This seems more like it. Cardiff are a decent Championship side who should really be pushing for a place in the Premier League. They’ve got some real talent in the side, with the likes of Joe Ledley and top scorer Ross McCormack. They’ve got decent Cup pedigree, having arguably started Leeds’ rocky descent with a boisterous defeat of David O’Leary’s team, and Arsenal’s form is exactly inspiring at the moment. Will Arsene Wenger have a heart and hand Aaron Ramsey a return against his former club?
Sunday 25 January (4pm, Setanta Sports)
Liverpool v Everton
Not really feeling the Merseyside derby to be honest. Liverpool’s win over Preston in the last round was a snore fest – they wasn’t even too much controversy over Phil Collins loving Stevie Gerrard – and they play pretty boring stuff under Rafa Benitez. Everton have a top manager in David Moyes but if they really are to push on and replicate that Champions’ League qualification of a few years back, Bill Kenwright is going to have to put his hand in his pocket. I guess my skeptism will ensure that this is an absolute cracker.
I feel a little sorry for Kettering who aren’t going to be able to raise as much revenue from the game as they might have expected without a television deal. Still, they’ll be nailed on for a smaller figure from BBC Radio Five Live, as the afternoon kick-off. And you’ve got to love Gareth Seddon – he thinks they can win.