Sunderland legend backs controversial FA decision in contrast to stance of many

Sunderland legend Kevin Ball believes it’s a good thing that the FA have scrapped FA Cup replays and says, “I’m all for it.”
The 59-year-old former skipper, caretaker manager and club ambassador was speaking at the launch of a Sunderland limited edition bottle of Jameson whiskey. Partnering with Classic Football Shirts, the bottle features Sunderland’s 1992 away shirt, paying homage to Sunderland’s iconic cup final season.

Asked about the FA’s decision to get rid of replays from the first round of the FA Cup – which has caused an angry reaction nationwide particularly among smaller clubs – Ball announced: “I’m all for it. The reason I agree with scrapping replays, and I get the fact what people are saying about scrapping them, I understand all that, but I also like the fact a cup game has to be finalised on that day.

“I’d like to see the framework of why they want to do it. But If I was asked before this decision ‘would you scrap replays?’ I would do it. How would they end games, they haven’t said? Are they going to go 90 minutes, penalties, or 90 minutes, extra time, penalties? I don#t know what they are going to do. “Other people will moan and I understand what they’ll say about smaller clubs. I get all of that but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a cup. The draw of the cup says you are home or away, ‘right unlucky you’re away’ but it’s a tough game. I’m sorry, but I am all for it.”

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Ball was also asked about his team-mates in the 1991/92 season which ended in the FA Cup final and a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool. Asked for his favourite team-mates he said: “I think it’s very difficult when you talk about favourites from people you’ve played with. I think with team-mates, it’s difficult to keep in touch with everybody.

“I’ve always said to every play I’ve ever played with, ‘look, you’ve got my number, if you want to get hold of me, or ever need me for anything, give me a shout.’ That’s how we work. But then when we bump into each other or we see each other, you go back to the era you played with them, and you talk about that, and it is good.

“The one I remember that still sticks out in my mind about the cup final is that John Kay couldn’t play. John Kay was player of the year that year. He was absolutely magnificent all year and then he got injured in the lead up to the final and I got injured in the lead up to the final but made sure I recovered quickly enough. And I remember feeling awful for him because he was by far and away our best player all year and he ends up missing the cup final which would have been the pinnacle of his career. So that sticks in my mind as well as one or two other things as well.”

The cup final kit from that year has been relaunched and he added: “I think the first thing you could argue is when you compared the kit we went back and played in at the play-off final it was a definite slight change of weight. The whole kit was a nice kit, there’s no two ways about it. Even the tracky [tracksuit]. The fact they have now relaunched it all, it’s testament to a good era in terms of kit-wise for the club. It was a lovely kit to play in.”

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/sunderland-legend-backs-controversial-fa-29052566

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