Saturday, May 5, 2012

What Have You Done To Our FA Cup?

[Warning - Football related not tech]

Growing up as a kid, FA Cup final day was without doubt the second best day of the year (christmas day being the first)

The whole week before build up - profiling the players, managers, fans and communities with special programs, quizzes and news items all over the TV. It felt like the whole country got into it.

The day itself. Blanket coverage on both channels from an early start. The teams at breakfast, Its a Knock Out special, profiles, interviews, following the fans, following the players coach to Wembley, the walk on the pitch, the game itself - classics never to be forgotten.


Even moving into adulthood - a bunch of us used to traditionally get together in the pub and then back at mine - a game of football, beers, presentation of the Milky Milky Fantasy football trophy, watch the game with loads of silly bets and then more beers.

It was the last game of the season - a time to reflect on past season and look forward as a football fan. And to dream of being at Wembley next year.

It was tradition.

It was part of footballs heritage.

It was envied globally as the best club competition in the world.

So what the fuck happened.

I could probably write a book on what happened but in summary, the FA, The Premiership, money, Sky, foreign players, foreign managers, more money, too much money, overpriced tickets, Stadium, seats, overpaid paid players etc etc.

In the last 10 years its been getting worse and worse - in terms of converage and importance. Man United not bothering to enter. Moving to Cardiff temporarily. Semi finals at Wembley. It just doesn't seem to mean much to the top flight players. I remember seeing Patrick Viera being interviewed after scoring the winning penalty against Man Utd a few years back. It was 15 minutes after the win and in the background were 2 foreign Arsenal players doing warm down stretches - they should have been in front of the fans downing bottles of champagne celebrating for what should have been one of their greatest achievements.

But the final nail in the coffin to me is having the final before the end of the season at 5:15pm today. Last year I found out they did this and I had already booked a trip away. I ended up missing my first ever final waiting at Barcelona airport by myself. Sounds like I had more fun. I heard it was a one off. Oh not so. I didn't even know the final was on today until a few days ago - with still 2 games left in the season and a full afternoon of other league games. The FA have finally killed our greatest tournament.

I've just been out to town - there was a group of kids from my daughters school hanging around. I asked them if they were watching the FA Cup final later - they stared at me like I was mad. And then I asked my nephew if he was watching it and again a blank stare back and asking what that was.

We couldn't even remember who played last year against Man City for ages and yet I can reel off most of the 70's and 80's winners with goalscorers without too much trouble.

So I missed my first final last year - as for today, I will probably go out for a meal with the family and if I get back in time I may see what the score is just out of interest. Because that I am afraid is what the FA has done to our cup - just a passing bit of interest.


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