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FA Cup replays scrapped: Oxford United boss feels for fans and players

The FA and Premier League have come to an agreement on changes to the world’s oldest cup competition, including no replays from the first round proper.

Currently there are no replays from the fifth round onwards, with the new agreement set to be for a minimum of six years, beginning next season.

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Oxford United head coach Buckingham feels disappointed by the decision, as he reflected on when the U’s faced Chelsea in the fourth round during the 1998/99 season.

Dean Windass put United in front at the Manor Ground, but a controversial late penalty converted by Frank Leboeuf forced a replay at Stamford Bridge.

Despite Phil Gilchrist’s early opener, Chelsea recovered and went on to win 4-2 thanks to goals from Dennis Wise, Gianfranco Zola, and a Mikael Forssell brace.

Buckingham said: “I understand it from the top end and the Premier League, and the demands that are placed on that, but for English Football League teams, certainly in League One and then down, there’s an opportunity to pull out a big team from those higher divisions, especially at home, and then get a draw and go to somewhere like Old Trafford.

“I’m thinking me as a youngster going to watch Oxford back in the 90s. We drew 1-1 at the Manor, and ended up going back to Chelsea.

“Those opportunities fans thrive on, and certainly players to if they get an opportunity to do that.

“It’s disappointing. We play 60-odd games a season anyway, but it’s something we’ll have to deal with and get on with.”



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