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‘I embarrassed my mum by swearing on TV’ – Micah Richards on the power of the FA Cup

Micah Richards joins Tim Cahill and Gabby Logan at Etihad Stadium on Sunday for live coverage of Manchester City versus Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round at 12:45 GMT on BBC One and the BBC Sport website. Liverpool’s tie with Shrewsbury is also live across the BBC, and kicks off at 17:00.

I won the Premier League and played for England but it seems everyone always remembers me best for swearing live on BBC One on a Sunday afternoon.

That is the power of the FA Cup, and I don’t believe the famous old competition has lost all of its magic – just ask Liverpool’s Curtis Jones.

Whatever else he does in his career, people will remember his spectacular winner against Everton in the third round.

All the angles: Relive Curtis Jones’ stunning goal

Yes, some teams use the FA Cup to rotate their squads and rest their regulars but it means you get a chance to see some new faces and it is a perfect platform for young players like Jones to show everyone what they can do.

He would never have got a chance to showcase his talent for Liverpool in the Premier League or Champions League, but he got his opportunity in the FA Cup at the age of just 18, and certainly made a name for himself.

I did the same, under slightly different circumstances, as a 17-year-old in 2006 when I headed home a last-minute equaliser for Manchester City in a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa in the fifth round.

FA Cup: Micah Richards rescues FA Cup tie for Man City

Unlike Jones, I had already broken into City’s first team and played a few matches before that day, but there was no hype about me until I scored that goal. Nine months later, I made my full England debut.

These days, people mostly bring up my BBC interview with Garth Crooks straight after the game, when I was so excited about scoring that a four-letter word sneaked out.

My mum gave me an earful when I saw her afterwards – she didn’t speak about the goal, because she was never really too bothered about football, but she just told me I had embarrassed her by swearing on TV.

I was like “mum, I’d just scored a brilliant goal” but she said “yes but what will people think of me? I didn’t bring you up like this”.

Unfortunately I did not learn my lesson, because I did it again when I was interviewed on the pitch after City had won the 2011 FA Cup final – another swear word sort of slipped out.

But that just shows you how much winning the FA Cup meant to me, because when I am super happy, I just cannot control my emotions.

It was the first trophy I had won as a professional player, and City’s first trophy for 35 years – so I was obviously going to be pretty excited.

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Those were two of the proudest moments of my career, which is why I cannot understand why some people want to dismiss the FA Cup – I have seen for myself how much it means to players and fans in good and bad times.

I hope to get some of that emotion I have experienced across when I am back on the BBC this weekend, as a pundit on Sunday’s game between City and Fulham.

I still haven’t worked with Garth again though – they have not put us on Final Score together yet, because they are probably worried I will start swearing again.

I love how City go all out to win the FA Cup

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I don’t think the big clubs disrespect the FA Cup these days as much as is made out – when they rest players, it is more down to their schedule.

It doesn’t help that you come out of such a busy Christmas period, then go straight into the third round. It means most teams physically cannot play their strongest line-up, even if they wanted to.

And any Premier League games around that time have to take priority if your players are tired. Yes, the FA Cup is brilliant to win, but the Premier League is always going to be your club’s lifeblood financially

The example I always use is Wigan. Would you rather win the cup and go down, like they did in 2013? We all know how difficult it is to come back up.

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Things are different at City and one of the reasons they will go so hard to win it again under Pep Guardiola after lifting it last season is because they have got a squad that allows them to.

Yes, I expect they will make one or two changes against Fulham on Sunday, but I love the fact they really go for it because Pep Guardiola always wants to win absolutely everything.

It is not even a case of the FA Cup being important to City this year just because Liverpool are running away with the title. It is the same every season.

Upsets not much fun when you are on the wrong end

FA Cup: Micah Richards gets into argument with Aston Villa fans

Because Pep will pick a strong team, I am expecting City to make it through to the fifth round comfortably enough. It would clearly be a massive shock if they don’t.

But you can never take anything for granted in the FA Cup, because an upset is always only just around the corner, and I have experienced those too.

City lost to Championship sides like Fulham four times while I was at the club – Sheffield United and their ‘balloon’ goal at Bramall Lane in 2008, then Nottingham Forest in 2009, Wigan in 2014 and Middlesbrough in 2015, all at the Etihad.

FA Cup third round draw highlights

Then there was the time when I was at Aston Villa and we were held to a draw by League Two side Wycombe in 2016.

That was one of the low points of a very difficult season at Villa, but by then our supporters had just lost belief in us.

There were certain fans just coming to the games so they could have a go at us because they did not think we were trying, which was not the case.

I was Villa’s captain and ended up going over to speak to them at the final whistle – like I say, I am very passionate myself so I understood their frustration, but some of them had just gone too far.

The magic of the cup is winning it, or causing an upset as far as I am concerned – but it is not so enjoyable for anyone when you are on the receiving end.

It is great to still be involved in the FA Cup as a pundit – and I also enjoyed the chance to conduct the draw for this season’s third round.

I am still getting stick on Twitter now for not getting some people good draws, but I would love to do it again some day – I am not sure Liverpool or Manchester United fans would be too happy if I did though.

Micah Richards was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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