FC Halifax Town’s progression to the final of the West Riding County Cup on Wednesday is a creditable achievement, but the league remains the top priority.
In fact, the WRCC, which must rank lowest on the to-do list of most clubs who enter it, feels like something of an antiquated notion these days.
On the West Riding FA’s website, they boast that: “The West Riding County Cups represent the most prestigious competitions for local clubs to enter and enable teams to take a break from their local league competition and put their skills to the test against other clubs from across the County.”
The only thing is, I’m not sure most clubs want a break from league competition.
You could argue 30 years ago that local teams may have welcomed the extra revenue that WRCC games brought.
But I would imagine that some clubs may actually lose money from hosting a game such is the apparent malaise that seems to be reflected in attendances for the fixtures.
For clubs in the Blue Square North, the prospect of a final staged at Valley Parade doesn’t hold too much mysticism, given only two promotions stand between them playing there in the league.
Prize money can’t be much of an incentive either, given the greater rewards on offer from the FA Cup and FA Trophy.
And while a microscopic inspection of the rulebook didn’t flash up any mention of a minimum number of first-team players being required to play, the powers that be probably don’t look to favourably on teams throwing a few youngsters in their line-ups.
But who could blame a manager at Conference North level for doing just that?
The fact remains that for clubs pushing for promotion to the fifth tier of the game, the competition must surely serve as an inconvenience.
Is there a sense of apathy among supporters towards the competition?
You could argue the League Cup was in a similar position a few years ago where the big boys paid it lip service, while now it offers a chance to grab a piece of silverware in an era of fierce competition for trophies.
But the league is the bread and butter with jam on top at lower league level, so it’s no surprise the West Riding County Cup is left feeding off the crumbs.