The FA Cup is the absolute don, and ties like this are a huge part of the reason why. Millwall are 20th in the Championship, and in a relegation battle with Reading and Rotherham; Brighton are 15th in the Premier League and in a relegation battle with Newcastle, Palace, Southampton, Burnley and Cardiff; either could go down, and yet either might still enjoy the greatest season in their history with memories to sustain their families for generations – just ask a Wigan fan. Contrary to common belief, football is not about survival – that’s real life – but moments, memories and glory, and there’s no more consistent, democratic vehicle for that than the fit as pot with the hourglass figure.
As such we can anticipate an almighty scrap this afternoon, low on quality but high on intensity – less tiki-taka, more tacky-ticker – and hopefully a decent level of needle in the process. This, my friends, is England, and sometimes it’s quite good.