As the proud member for Bury South and a passionate advocate for the beautiful game, I’d like to congratulate Radcliffe on winning the league and gaining promotion to the National League North.

However, I find myself deeply concerned about recent developments in English football that threaten to undermine the essence of our beloved sport.

One such issue that has garnered attention is the proposal to scrap FA Cup replays.

While some may argue that this move is a pragmatic response to fixture congestion, I firmly believe that it is a mistake that risks stripping away the very essence of what makes the FA Cup so special - its romanticism.

Bury Times: Bury South MP Christian WakefordBury South MP Christian Wakeford (Image: Christian Wakeford)

The FA Cup has long been cherished as a competition where underdogs can defy the odds and achieve glory against more illustrious opponents.

It is a tournament steeped in history and tradition, where dreams are realized on rain-soaked pitches and iconic moments are etched into the annals of footballing folklore.

The magic of the FA Cup lies in its unpredictability, its capacity to inspire hope and passion among players and fans alike.

Scrapping replays dilutes this magic, robbing smaller clubs of the chance to earn lucrative replays against top-tier opposition and denying fans the thrill of witnessing David overcome Goliath.

The decision highlights a broader issue within English football - the lack of effective regulation and oversight.

The absence of a robust football regulator with the authority to ensure fairness and balance in the sport's governance is deeply concerning.

A football regulator must not only have the power to enforce rules and regulations but also possess a strong voice that represents the interests of all stakeholders, from grassroots clubs to Premier League giants.

Without this, the integrity of our national sport is compromised, leaving smaller clubs vulnerable to the whims of larger, more powerful entities.

As such, I am calling for a reconsideration of the decision to scrap FA Cup replays and for the reinstatement of this cherished tradition.

Replays not only provide smaller clubs with vital financial resources but also offer fans unforgettable moments of drama and excitement.

In preserving replays, we uphold the values of fairness, inclusivity, and sporting romance that lie at the heart of English football and ensure that the magic of the FA Cup continues to inspire generations of footballers and fans for years to come.

Together, let us safeguard the soul of our national sport.