A week into 2008 and the first prediction shot down in flames: Rovers for the Cup. There has been a lot of giddy reaction from people at Oldham, Coventry, Sheff United and Huddersfield that the gap between the Premier League and the rest isn't so great. Without wishing to dampen anyone's glee (sorry, Neil), what it does rather highlight is the gulf between the big red teams and Chelsea and the rest of the Premier League is getting even bigger and the semi-final line up is likely to be the big four. The expectation that Everton, Rovers, Bolton and Brum City won't win the thing is proven by the fact that they couldn't even be bothered to field teams capable of winning against lower division opposition. It's such a shame.
This time last year, by the way, I was a guest at Everton when Rovers tonked the Toffees. Neil Tague, Insider assistant editor, was there yesterday with a some of that same crowd following Oldham, also in the FA Cup 3rd round. The message from Frank McKenna was that this tradition is now over.
My gritted teeth do not allow me to put my tongue in my cheek, but I sat in front of the telly and watched Rachel's Clarets try and duff up Arsenal reserves.