Exclusive – Reading and Arsenal legend brands timing of FA Cup semi-final as ‘ridiculous’


first_imgFormer Arsenal midfielder and ex-Reading manager Brian McDermott has branded the timing of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final between his two former sides ‘ridiculous.’The Gunners and the Royals are scheduled to kick off at 5.20pm, while Chelsea and Manchester United get started just ten minutes later in a crunch Premier League clash.Understandably, there is a consensus that the tie could be overshadowed by the Premier League showdown, and McDermott believes the decision doesn’t make any sense.“It’s ridiculous. I can’t get my head around why a game of such magnitude, a semi-final of the FA Cup, is kicking off at that time and a massive Premier League game is kicking off just ten minutes later,” said the 54-year-old.“It just doesn’t really make any sense to me.”McDermott insists the move serves as evidence to the waning influence and interest in the FA Cup, citing a double standards from the authorities behind the decision.“Managers get criticised for picking weakened teams in the FA Cup and then you get a situation like this. That can’t be right,” he added.McDermott spent 13 years in total at Reading in various roles and eight years at Arsenal as a player, while he now works at the Emirates as a scout, so his loyalties are split evenly.Arsenal are experiencing a fantastic run of form having won their last ten domestic fixtures but, while Reading are struggling in the Championship, McDermott insists Arsene Wenger’s side are not underestimating their opposition.He said: “They are really taking this game seriously and they’ve left nothing to chance as far as the scout reports of Reading are concerned.“It’s the semi-final of the FA Cup – the only thing they are trying to do is get to Wembley.”last_img

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