I think it still matters to the big clubs. The fact that Everton in 1995 were the last team outside of the modern ‘big 4’ to win the trophy suggests this.
I think ideally that all clubs would take it more seriously, but the Premiership is worth so much money these days that clubs that have to choose between the two will always give the league priority, see Steve Coppell’s comments earlier this season. Notice that last year, West Ham had all but achieved their objective of staying up by February, and so were free to really go for a good Cup run, which as we know they did, coming to within a minute or so of winning the whole thing.
But to answer the question, the FA Cup still has the ‘tradition’ about it, so winning it is still magical. I seriously doubt the fact that Reading played a weakened team in the QF etc. will taint the victory any for Man United or Chelsea’s players & fans come tomorrow evening.
Man U and Chelsea seem to be treating it almost as a friendly. If they were playing in the Champions League Final against each other do you think there would be all this ‘we’re going to go out and enjoy oursleves’ and mutual backslapping that’s been going on the last couple of weeks? No, Fergie and Mourinho would be at the old mind games, winding each other up (when not illegally transporting Yorkshire Terriers around Europe that is). The fact that they’re not ‘at it’ shows that the Cup Final is low, relatively, on the list of priorities.<br>
Agree with Cormack that to some extent, the FA Cup is less important – to the very top clubs anyway.<br>Hopefully though, this might be a plus in that such teams won’t feel under so much pressure and will therefore play a less "constipated" game than used to be the case in many cup finals.