Kidd questions friendly games

Provided they maintain an interest in the Europa League and FA Cup

– they meet Notts County in a fourth-round replay at Eastlands on

Sunday – City are now condemned to playing twice a week until the

middle of April. Indeed, should the Blues advance to a fifth-round

meeting with Aston Villa and draw that, the FA would have

difficulty attempting to squeeze in a quarter-final prior to the

semis taking place on April 16. It just piles the pressure on

players Kidd revealed are now being “maintained” rather than

actually trained. And, as the debate rages over the FA Cup’s value,

Kidd wonders what positives the latest round of internationals have

brought. “If there was a free week for the top clubs in February,

it would be great,” he said, “That would have been a good chance to

work with the squad and do a weekly, player-specific programme

depending upon whether they needed rest or extra work. “Instead

there was a friendly – in the middle of February.” Kidd is certain

changes to the calendar could be made; allowing European teams to

play league matches on Friday evenings perhaps in order to ease the

strain. Whether any of these alterations could bring some added

shine to the FA Cup is debatable though. “The FA Cup was a

fantastic occasion. People say you are old fashioned and times have

changed but it was a memorable day. “Every supporter in the land

watched the FA Cup final. It wasn’t just if your team was there.

You had the brass band, the singing, the white suits. It was

fantastic. I suppose the modern ones don’t want that now do they?

“If I am honest, it has a bit to do because football has changed

dramatically and the FA Cup has been diluted a little bit.” Not for

Kidd though. As Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United,

he presided over two triumphs in the competition and at 61, he was

part of an era for whom cup final day was the football occasion of

the year. And as the possibility of scrapping replays and turning

the FA Cup into a midweek competition is discussed, Kidd feels this

weekend’s showdown at Old Trafford is a reminder of what the

competition can be. “I don’t know what the powers-that-be are going

to propose but replays mean the smaller clubs get a second game,”

he said. “Look at Crawley this week. The money they will get out of

playing Manchester United is fantastic. It is a lifeline for these

clubs. “It is a dream and typical of what the FA Cup is all about.”

It is also one of two realistic chances City retain of winning a

trophy this term and ending that 35-year wait for a trophy. “I had

a saying that once you get to the semi-finals, you can smell the

hot dogs,” he said. “The importance of this tournament cannot be

underestimated. “Once you win a trophy it is intoxicating. It is a

great feeling. “The length of time is there as well. You can’t get

away from the fact it has been so many years since we won a trophy.

“But it is like getting an injection. You want more of it.”