OPINION: How much does the Derbyshire Senior Cup mean to Alfreton Town?
Alfreton Town have progressed to the semi-finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup after a convincing 4-1 victory over New Mills.
The importance of the competition has always been up for debate, with Alfreton regularly favouring to play a weakened side under the reign of Nicky Law, who made the league a priority.
Alfreton have won the Derbyshire Senior Cup on nine occasions with the most successful club in the competition’s history being the Reds’ semi-final opponents, Ilkeston Town, claiming the trophy 11 times.
There are two sides to the coin for Alfreton boss John McDermott when it comes to the cup. His focus will be on securing National League North survival for the club, but the lure of his first piece of silverware as a manager may see him push to win the competition.
The competition has regularly faced criticism from fans. When Derby County and Chesterfield joined the competition in 2010/11, many believed that what was once a competition for Derbyshire’s non-league clubs had become a farce.
There have also been regular troubles with attendances in the competition, with many fans choosing not to go to the Tuesday night games against what could be much lower level opposition.
The blame for attendances may also lie at the door of managers with fans not being prepared to pay to see what could well be two B teams face off.
The Derbyshire Senior Cup is the perfect tournament for a team who find themselves trapped in mid-table. With nothing else to play for in the league, you may as well go for it to prove you are the best in the area and collect prize money and a trophy on the way.
But if you are fighting for promotion or survival, it rightly takes a back seat, with the position the club finds itself in the following season a much bigger prize than winning the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
The competition was previously a pre-season tournament that often saw 22 trialists go head to head, but it feels much more important now that it takes place during the season.
Some revamping could certainly be done to give clubs further incentive to win the competition, but the opportunity to face a rival should not be wasted.