Ferguson: FA Cup won’t die

Nine thousand supporters will accompany the ambitious non-leaguers

on their long fifth-round trip north to Old Trafford on Saturday,

hoping to become the first side from outside the Football League to

reach the quarter-finals. Little wonder the game has captured the

imagination worldwide, creating much-needed publicity for a

tournament that seems to have dwindled in popularity markedly from

the time United pulled out in 2000 to compete in the World Club

Championship in Brazil. “They talk about the FA Cup dying, but it

won’t die as long as you’ve got giantkilling acts that Crawley have

already produced,” said Ferguson. “And every manager will tell you,

you don’t want to be a casualty. “We lost to Leeds last season and

it wasn’t easy to take. They were up for it and made it a cup tie.

“We will see the same tomorrow. Crawley will get stuck into us,

there’s no other way for them. That is the way they are.” Facing

such opposition is nothing new to United. In 2005 they were paired

with Exeter. The following season they drew Burton at the

third-round stage. The Red Devils ended up requiring replays to get

past both sides after disappointing goalless draws. Comparisons

continue given Exeter and Burton are now Football League clubs. And

Ferguson expects Crawley to follow suit given the investment they

are benefiting from “We respect the fact that Crawley are the best

non-league side for quite a while,” said Ferguson. “They seem to

have a lot of money invested in their players and are near the top

of the league, so their games in hand will probably see them

promoted to the league proper. “There is always room for ambition

and they could do well when they get into the Football League given

the kind of money they have behind them and the ambition they have

got. “We expect a tough game. They’re very committed and aggressive

and it’ll be a tough game. “It will be brilliant for the Crawley

fans but their team’s performances against Derby, Swindon and

Torquay tell you they deserve to be in this round.”