Saturday debate: Should the FA Cup be seeded?

Saturday debate: Should the FA Cup be seeded

IAN LADYMAN

No. Categorically not. The FA Cup has already been squeezed out of shape. We've lost multiple replays, for example, and now have the shameful spectacle of seeing the semi-finals played at Wembley. The last thing we need is to introduce a system that would effectively play into the hands of the big teams. The FA Cup is standing the test of time simply because it remains such a romantic, intriguing competition. The one thing I would suggest – if only for a trial season – would be that any team drawn against a team from a lower league should automatically be made to play the tie away from home.

High times: Jamie Hewitt scores for Chesterfield in Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough

High times: Jamie Hewitt scores for Chesterfield in Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough

NEIL ASHTON

Yes. The FA could generate so much more excitement around the competition if they forced the team in the higher division to play away, creating a potential giant-killing in virtually every tie. For example, Tottenham's home tie with Cheltenham in this year's third round would instead be played at Whaddon Road; likewise Everton v Tamworth. The FA could add to the occasion and generate better atmospheres by playing every round under lights in midweek. Replays should also be scrapped, which would increase the prospect of teams in lower divisions getting a scalp on home territory.

MATT BARLOW

No seedings for me, thanks. The FA Cup's beauty is rooted in its free nature and the element of chance. Giant-killings are great but so are tales like Chesterfield's run to the semi-finals in 1997, which was assisted by five home ties. We ought to cherish the competition and protect its status.

Glory days: Dave Beasant celebrates Wimbledon's Cup triumph

Glory days: Dave Beasant celebrates Wimbledon's Cup triumph

ALEX KAY

Even the question makes my blood boil. The FA Cup has provided us with some fairytale winners: Coventry in 1987, Wimbledon in 1988 and Portsmouth in 2008 are just a few recent ones. But they were made possible by big teams knocking out other big teams, which seeding would make impossible. It's those unlikely winners that we still talk about now.

LEE CLAYTON

No. Too much has been changed. The old Cup has taken a battering but remains a cherished competition with nostalgia and a hint of magic. City v United electrifies the round and, if the Cup were to be seeded, we'd end up with the same teams left in all the time. Leave it alone!

LAURA WILLIAMSON

No. Getting rid of replays and slashing ticket prices could help some Premier League teams work up a bit more enthusiasm. Why should the smaller clubs be denied a big pay-day and the chance to play in a 40,000-seat stadium It's fine as it is.

Sweet success: Portsmouth celebrate 2008 triumph

Sweet success: Portsmouth celebrate 2008 triumph

RONNIE RADFORD

(Scorer of THAT goal for Hereford v Newcastle in 1972)

They should leave the draw alone. You are talking about doing something to make it easier for top teams to win it – that is not what the Cup is about. The Cup changes people's lives – and not just those who play in it, but whole communities. The Cup has gone down in Hereford folklore. I have memories and friendships which I wouldn't have otherwise and which 150,000 a week couldn't give me.

DAVE BEASANT

(Wimbledon FA Cup hero, who saved a penalty in the 1988 final)

There's no way the FA Cup should be seeded. I know the idea would be so that the biggest clubs get to the final, but this weekend's clash between Manchester United and Manchester City is massive in itself and would not happen if the competition were seeded. The luck of the draw is all part and parcel of the competition and it should stay that way.

DAVID BERNSTEIN

(Football Association chairman)

What makes the FA Cup so special is that the draw has that magical air of unpredictability about it and I think it needs to retain that aspect so it has a unique identity when compared with other competitions. Who could predict that we would have a Manchester derby in the third round this season Don't forget that Manchester United were drawn against Liverpool at the same stage last year, which shows that all clubs, regardless of size, are at the mercy of the draw on the day. Crawley also got to play at Old Trafford and it's this variety that makes the draw essential viewing. I'll be at MK Dons v QPR and I'm sure the home fans will be eyeing up a giant-killing. It's these prospects that have made the FA Cup the great competition that it is.