For all the A-League teams, when the FFA Cup was first formed, most of us players thought it would just be a pre-season cup.
We’d get a couple of games in against good-quality opposition or a hit out against a local side and if we progress, we progress, but if we don’t, at least we’re getting some game time and fitness before the start of the season.
I think the mindset of a lot of the A-League teams now is that they really want to do well in this competition and they actually want to win it.
They put a lot of time and effort into these FFA Cup games now, which makes it good for the local sides.
When you look at the FA Cup in the UK, I was a big fan of that growing up and always looked forward to the big final at Wembley Stadium.
You always kind of hoped that an underdog made it all the way and I distinctly remember when Wimbledon played Liverpool and it was such a big buzz because they had progressed through to play one of the big Premier League teams.
That concept has now come over here and we’re already seeing a few upsets.
You just have to look at Heidelberg United and the buzz from them winning their match and progressing through to the next round after beating A-League opponents Perth Glory.
It got massive reviews, not just in Melbourne, but all over Australia, which is great for local clubs.
I had a taste of the FFA Cup with Murray United this year and unfortunately we lost against an NPL team.
But it’s such a big buzz for the club and the players to know the further along you go, you could actually play the likes of Melbourne Victory or Sydney FC.
It also creates a great buzz in the community, but who knows, especially with what’s been happening this year with some of the bigger clubs losing out in upsets, hopefully next year there will be a bit more support.
Maybe some of the A-League teams are a little bit underdone, but it shouldn’t take away from some of the results.
When Heidelberg played, they had guys working that day that had to rock up a little bit late because they’d just finished at one of their job sites, while the A-League teams are resting in the hotel, having a morning walk, enjoying a pre-match lunch and having a rest in the afternoon.
That’s why it’s such a great story with some of these smaller clubs that battle and have players that work nine to five jobs and have to beg their employer to finish work a couple of hours early.
With the wins and the upsets and how everyone has taken to this FFA Cup, it would be great for the broadcasters to show more behind the scenes vision of what some of the local clubs have to go through.
I love the concept and I think it’s one of the better things the FFA have done.