FA cup – The romance is back

by Martin

Monday, March 10th, 2008

The year of the underdog

Anyone who knows me will tell you that it isn’t often that I admit I was wrong. And it’s even less often that I am delighted to do so. But after the weekend just gone, I am over the moon to be able to hold my hands up and say that I got it wrong in my last piece! (click here) For the first time since 1995 the FA Cup will be won by someone outside the so-called ‘So Called Big Four’. And that makes me, and hopefully all genuine football fans, really happy. The romance is back!

Several years ago I, and my friend Stephen, who is a Watford fan, had a heated discussion with a Liverpool supporter. We were trying to explain to him that he could never experience the elation that we would feel if one of our teams won a major trophy. He just didn’t get it. You see, when my beloved Leicester City beat Middlesbrough in a Carling Cup final replay they won their first big trophy in all my years of supporting them (I started in 1972). I was quite literally on cloud nine for months to come.

Fans of the SCB4 expect trophies. They are disappointed if they end the season without a win to celebrate, and when they do triumph their joy is tinged with the belief that they ought really to have done this anyway.

Fans of other teams don’t carry this. We start the season expecting to win nothing as usual, to enjoy a season fighting for promotion, struggling against relegation or just treading water. But we love it anyway. We don’t expect trophies, which makes them all the sweeter when they come along. A Liverpool fan can never understand this, but it means less to him to get to Wembley.

This year the Wembley final will be filled with people who didn’t expect to be there, or believe they have a god given right to be there. For this alone, the FA Cup Final will be a richer experience for everyone it touches. So a few tedious people who only tune in their televisions when the SCB4 are on may decide not to watch, hey we won’t be seeing Ronaldo’s silky skills will we, but many more neutrals will rediscover the date in May and the Cup will get some of its magic back.

Of course, Fergie can complain that Ronaldo was muscled unfairly out of the game, he was, and there is no doubt of that. And Chelsea will argue that they have a poor manager, but to use a tired old adage, there was only one big winner at the weekend and that was the game of football itself. And that is something fans of all teams should celebrate, regardless of who lifts the trophy in May.

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    It’s been great for football. I read that if you would have put a tenner on both Barnsley & Pompey you would have won £750! I wonder what the odds were on Boro going out as well?

    West Brom were superb, they are surely heading for the Premier League, so if they win the FA Cup it won’t be that much of a surprise. I hope they do to be honest, they have been banging in goals for fun.

  • Jonny Stoddern

    Liverpudlians are welcoming Chelsea in to the ‘got knocked out of the FA cup by Barnsley’ club.

    I remember 1995, my uncle was on the front page of the liverpool echo giving Paul Rideout a rub on the head on the turf of wembley.

    Nice column btw Martin, I’ll keep my eye on this

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