The FA Cup is one of the most famous and most fun sporting events in the world, and part of its unique charm is when non-league team advances beyond where they’d normally be defeated. This year, Crawley Town FC, a non-league club playing in the Football Conference (four levels below the Premier League) defeated Torquay to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup, equaling the best performance by a non-league club in the modern era.
The closest experience we have in the US is the NCAA Basketball tournament, when a lower seeded team upsets a top ten team in the first round, but we have yet to see the ultimate, a #1 seed losing to a #16 seed. The FA Cup’s equivalent is a non-league team beating a Premier League team. That has happened, but not since Sutton United beat Coventry City in 1989.
Maybe Crawley Town FC will be the first to advance to the sixth round, or maybe they will finally lose. Following them in their cinderella run is one of the pleasures for football followers throughout the world.