Club Statement | FA Cup Replays

Altrincham Football Club is a club with its roots in three important legacies: our incredible community support, our never say die attitude on the field, and our long history of being on the receiving end of short-sighted decisions like this.

From winning promotion to the league but never being duly elected, to knocking out massive clubs in the Cup or going toe-to-toe and forcing them to try again, it's always been Alty against the world. Giant killing is in our blood.

Now it appears we're not alone.

With the combined community rage resulting from the just announced decision not to allow replays in the FA Cup from the first round onwards, the football world is seemingly finally united – but for a few.

Let's be clear: smaller clubs, which are the lifeblood of British football and provide a unique structure not found in most other professional sports or countries, and which often struggle financially with most money in the game flowing to the top 1%, depend on the occasional payday from cup games against bigger teams to make ends meet.

Cup replays allow us to bring those big games home with added passion – or play them away on a national stage in once-in-a-lifetime historic battles.

Since 1963, Altrincham FC have enjoyed 15 replays in the FA Cup first round or better, including third round replays against Everton in '74, Tottenham in '78, Leyton Orient in '79, and beating Sheffield United 3-0 in the first round in 1981 after a 2-2 draw in the first match.

Those games weren't just transformational from a financial basis for a club like Alty, but were historic for us. Our kids hear about them. The pictures from those games adorn our halls. The recollections of those memories bounce loudly off the walls of every pub in town. The participants in those games will forever be local legends.

But the other thing those replays brought, which some clubs seem to have forgotten, was the ability for the bigger team to say, “Oh dear, that was a close one, I guess we should play our first team in the replay.”

Everton, Orient, Spurs, Luton – they all got away with close calls with Alty because the replay existed as a concept. 

NEVER AGAIN. 

Now, because of the short sightedness of those running the game, and their lack of consultation and consideration for the bottom of the pyramid, those draws will go to the coin flip of penalties instead of a replay, and when they do, let it be known we will take great delight in sending you home to watch the rest of the cup rounds on TV.

There are a lot of teams putting statements out right now expressing disdain and disappointment in this deeply unpopular decision, with some clubs even vowing to sit the competition out in protest. Those statements range from the polite to the strong, the sad to the motivated.

Our statement is more to the point.

We're going to beat you.

When we turn over your team of second stringers on penalties in the third round and you've got no second chance, remember...

You asked for this.

Signed, the Giant Killers.

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