5 motivating reasons to gee up for the FFA Cup

With the second installment of the Westfield FFA Cup building to a climax between Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory in the final at AAMI Park on Saturday, here are 5 quality reasons that will motivate you to watch the cup.

1. The greatest underdog story ever; almost

Who doesn’t want to see an amateur or semi-pro team beat a professional A-League outfit in a competitive match? In 2015, they came close.

Rockdale City Suns were arguably the closest, bowing out 3-2 courtesy of Melbourne Victory in the Round of 16. Victory almost conceded on a number of occasions in the last few minutes of the match, but ultimately succeeded in keeping out the Suns’ best efforts.

Lions FC (from the Brisbane Premier League) came within a whisker of eliminating Perth Glory in the Round of 16 but Chris Harold’s 116th minute extra-time goal gave Glory a 1-0 win. It’s worth noting that Perth’s goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson received a red card in the 7th minute for a foul in the penalty box. Substitute-keeper Nicholas Feely came up with a great penalty save to keep the game at 0-0.

In the FFA Cup’s two years of existence, Adelaide City are the only Member Federation club who has achieved the feat of taking-out an A-League side, beating the Western Sydney Wanderers in the Round of 32 in 2014. 

2. The world class, short-stint signing

Every football fan has one (or more) top-class player that they’d love to see play for their A-League or grassroots club – even if it was only for only one outing.

This year Greece’s Euro 2004 winning-captain Kostas Katsouranis was that player for Heidelberg United in their Quarter Final clash with Melbourne City. Though the match ended in a 5-0 romping to City (courtesy of an Aaron Mooy hat-trick), Katsouranis drew an audience and provided moments of brilliance when he had the ball at his feet.

In the lead up to their Semi Final with Melbourne Victory, Hume City attempted to snare the signature of either Ronaldinho, Arda Turan, David Trezeguet or Giorgos Karagounis as a guest player. None of these ‘dream’ transfers eventuated but the fact that there was serious discussion about one of these players coming downunder means we will see big names again in future.

3. The chance to impress 

For non-professional players the FFA Cup provides the chance to expose their abilities to the professional football environment, on a national scale and with media exposure. After scoring the fastest goal in FFA Cup history (26 seconds against Sydney United 58 in the Round of 16), Heidelberg United’s Daniel Heffernan signed his first professional contract to the Central Coast Mariners.

Throughout the Cup, A-League coaches have also given playing opportunities to younger squad members; a way for them to demonstrate their potential footballing worth. Players like Wade Dekker (Melbourne City) and Brandon O’Neill (Sydney FC) have set themselves up for big seasons at their clubs by impressing during their FFA Cup game-time.

4. The late late (and early early) drama

You’ve heard of Fergie time, but you haven’t seen it for real until you’ve watch the FFA Cup.

Hume City beat Brisbane Strikers in a seven-goal thriller in the Round of 32 – a scarcely believable result when you consider the minutes each goal was scored; 3’ Hume, 23’ Strikers, 90’ Strikers, 90’+1’ Hume, 103’ Strikers, 105;+1’ Hume, 120’+1’ Hume (Strikers own goal).

Aaron Mooy channelled mountains of free-kick magic when he slotted home Melbourne City’s winner in the 3rd minute of second-half injury time to beat Edgeworth FC 2-1 in the Round of 32. Did I mention that was his second goal from a free-kick in that match?

5. The abundance of extra leg room

Let’s face it, unless the match you’re attending is being played at a grassroots venue that’s bursting with 3000 people, you’re going to have plenty of room for activities near your seat.

A-League clubs have struggled to motivate fans to attend FFA Cup games in the same way they do A-League fixtures, and Member Federation clubs have encountered similar attendance issues.

Though, when minnows host A-League opponents there is no issue. The Round of 32 match between Balmain Tigers and Melbourne Victory attracted a crowd of over 5000 to Leichhardt Oval. 20 minutes in to the game there was still a ticket line winding around the stadium. 

Balmain Tigers captain Tom Hyde. Credit: Football NSW
Balmain Tigers captain Tom Hyde. Credit: Football NSW
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Sydney FC and Manchester United fan. Digital Publishing Coordinator at Fox Sports Australia. B Media & B Commerce from UNSW. Former Guinness World Record holder for longest video game marathon (FIFA 11 for 30 hours).