I think another reason of the FA Cup's decline in popularity (at least among the big teams) is the elimination of the Cup Winners' Cup which used to be a major incentive. The fact that the winner now qualifies for the Europa League is pretty moot since they've more than likely already qualified for the Champions League. My dad's dad was a referee so the two of them attended many Cup Finals (including the three Leicester lost in the '60s). I never went to a final but used to love watching the television build-up on Cup Final day. But by the late-90s it was already losing its lustre. By the time the final moved to the Millennium Stadium the FA Cup was OVER as we knew it and has never been the same since.
Thanks for your message, James.You'll often hear us moaning about the Champions League and it's inclusion of non-Champion teams. The whole thing's a farce, frankly! I used to like the Cup-Winners Cup, myself, and wouldn't be opposed to its return (not that that will ever happen!)I think my interest in the FA Cup weakened around the same time as yours did, James. I still like the FA Cup as a concept - it's just the changes that have been made to it that have diminished its high standing (details of which we discussed in the podcast).Thanks for listening in! :)