The year of the minnow

The semifinalists for England’s FA Cup are set and they include only one Premiership Club — Portsmouth. The other three teams all reside in the second tier league. They are West Brom (4th place), Cardiff City (14th place), and Barnsley (19th place). Portsmouth are 9th in the Premiership.
So not only will we see the first winner since 1995 other than Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool, we may see the first winner from outside the top flight since 1976. That year, Southampton shocked Man U on a goal by Bobby Stokes, who later played for Washington in the old North American Soccer League.
If Cardiff, a Welsh outfit, manage to win, they will be the first non-English winners since 1927, when Cardiff defeated Arsenal. Unfortunately for Cardiff, the finals are back at Wembley Stadium in London after being played for several years in Cardiff while Wembley was being re-modeled.
UPDATE: Barnsley has drawn Cardiff City in the semifinals. I’m glad to see that, having taken down Liverpool and Chelsea, Barnsley now gets to play a team “its own size.”
In any case, this means one finalist will come from the lower half of England’s second tier league. That lowly team will face the winner of the Portsmouth-West Brom semifinal.


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