WORLD OF SPORT: Wise words from Graham Westley

Posh manager Graham Westley (left) celebrates Jon Taylor's goal in the FA Cup draw at West Brom.
Posh manager Graham Westley (left) celebrates Jon Taylor's goal in the FA Cup draw at West Brom.
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I enjoy listening to Peterborough United manager Graham Westley.

I don’t always agree with him, but he’s an entertaining orator and a breath of fresh air for someone who spent far too long fighting off sleep during interviews with Darren ‘no tempo’ Ferguson and Dave ‘football brave’ Robertson.

I was going to write my own condemnation of the proposal to scrap FA Cup replays to protect the work load of Premier League squads and improve England’s chances of winning the World Cup.

But I couldn’t better Westley’s tirade during a recent Posh press conference. He spoke with passion, but was also right on just about every point.

Westley said: “I hate the talk of messing with the greatest competition in the world. It is a competition that helps small clubs build training grounds and new stands. It gives so much value to communities around the country.

“If you’ve been involved with non-league clubs you would know the difference small amounts of prize money from the early rounds can make.

“There is such a deep-rooted benefit to the FA Cup right through the national game and the thought of the big boys taking even more from the little clubs fills me with horror.

“I’m not saying this as a stubborn manager stuck in League One as I want to be progressive myself. I want to take my club forward and I want to manage at the top level.

“But if I was sitting in the Premier League managing a Premier League club I’d be saying the same.

“Football is not the Premier League’s game, it’s the country’s game. England won the World Cup in 1966 when the FA Cup was the same competition as it is now.

“There is no need to change for future World Cups. We need to respect the tradition of the FA Cup. It’s too valuable to change.”

I fear that Westley, and the rest of us, will ultimately be disappointed though.

More and more football in England panders to the elite clubs. They’ll not only get their way with FA Cup replays, they’ll also find a way of introducing an unwanted winter break just so the pampered Premier League players can be indulged some more.

We can ignore the fact that most Premier League squads are 40-strong these days. The poor darlings are tired when they have to perform in front of big crowds for more than 90 minutes a week.

Will the worldwide, exhausting, but very lucrative, pre-season tours to hot countries also be scrapped to ensure players can still break into a trot in February? Of course not as money will always talk loudest.

Ignore the Premier League when they suggest they are contemplating change to benefit England’s national team.

If they were serious about that they’d limit the number of foreign players in their competition.

The Premier League is, and always will be, a self-serving organisation.