FA Cup: Empty seats as Neil Harris calls festive schedule 'crazy'

Cardiff v Carlisle
Carlisle United celebrate in front of an empty stand

Cardiff City manager Neil Harris believes football's "crazy" festive schedule should be changed to help attract bigger crowds for FA Cup ties.

Only 5,828 watched the Bluebirds' third round draw with League Two Carlisle at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.

That was Cardiff's fifth game in 14 days and the attendance was way below their league average of over 20,000.

"It's crazy, I know. I'm a father of three myself - it's expensive taking your kids places," said Harris.

"I think the amount of fixtures in the schedule over this period makes it very difficult for supporters to support every single game.

"Scrap one of the league games [in the festive period]. The FA Cup is here to stay and is a wonderful competition, everybody in football appreciates the FA Cup."

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FA Cup: Cardiff City 2-2 Carlisle United highlights

Cardiff are among the best supported clubs in the Championship, while they regularly filled their 33,000-capacity home ground in the Premier League last season.

Cup competitions, however, have been a different story.

With four of their past five third-round FA Cup ties at home, Cardiff failed to attract a crowd of more than 6,378 for any of those fixtures.

August's 3-0 EFL Cup loss to Luton, meanwhile, was watched by 4,111 fans, the Bluebirds' lowest crowd since moving to Cardiff City Stadium in 2009.

Saturday's attendance against Carlisle was not quite a record low but a worryingly familiar tale for the FA Cup, which does not seem to be held in the high regard it once was.

Cardiff reached the final in 2008 and remain the only Welsh club to have won the famous old competition, back in 1927.

Harris, who played for Millwall's 2004 final defeat against Manchester United, believes the FA Cup should still be cherished.

"British-based players, managers, supporters and foreign owners, managers and players love the FA Cup," he added.

"To have this many league games is crazy, every manager has said the same thing. It causes nothing but cost for people and injuries.

"The FA Cup will have some good crowds at really exciting games. Today it's a smaller crowd because it's not the exciting of games for Cardiff fans or Carlisle fans.

"It's a great competition."