Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Premier League should have played fair with FA Cup

It’s a pity Saturday’s FA Cup contest between Manchester City and Stoke at Wembley isn’t being accorded the respect tradition should have demanded for the final of the oldest football knock-out competition in the world.
Cup Final Day used to be a big deal without any distraction from other soccer matches. But this Saturday there will be a set of lunchtime Premiership games ahead of Wembley’s 3pm kick-off.
In one of these Manchester United play away to Blackburn Rovers where one point alone would be enough to secure the Red Devils the Premier League crown and a record 19 titles.
The shame is the Premier League didn’t think enough of the beautiful game’s history to switch all or at least its biggest matches to Sunday so as not to clash with the Cup Final.
The decision can be viewed as an arrogant dumping on the Football Association – or, I assume, the money-obsessed division’s concern at the loss of television revenue.
A clash of fixtures was clear from the moment the FA was chosen to stage the UEFA Champions League Final which will be held at Wembley on May 28th where Man U will represent English football against favourites Barcelona.
To allow the Wembley turf time to recover the FA Cup had to be brought forward and played when the soccer season is still alive.
I remember the FA Cup as the climax of the football year. There was an element of ritual to be followed; the curtains had to drawn as sunshine would obliterate monochrome television pictures.
I would watch with my father listening to two commentaries - his and Kenneth Wolstenholme's.
The 90 minutes playing time would be extended for hours by the military bands, the communal singing, the introduction of the players; refreshment at half-time (for viewers and players); the final whistle; the medal distribution by Royalty; the winning captain holding the Cup aloft; and the post-match celebrations.
It helped if you supported one or other of the finalists – but it wasn’t essential.

1 comment:

  1. It was like watching a Royal Wedding.


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