FA Cup Final Day

Written on the eve of the 2011 FA cup final

My first memories of an FA cup final was Man Utd v Liverpool back in 1977 with all 3 goals scored in a 5 minute frenzy at the start of the second half.

It wasn’t just about the football. All of the normal telly would make way for a full day of FA cup shenanigans. There’d be a special of A Question Of Sport featuring players from the final teams and various other “special” FA cup related programs.

Then we’d go to the hotels and see the players get on the coach and we’d follow the coach all the way to Wembley. We’d watch the players play three-card-brag and smoke cigarettes!

I remember one year we even saw one team eat a full English breakfast.

As well as all the telly we’d be treated to a full playing of the respective FA cup final songs. Footballers on Top Of The Pops. Why don’t they do that anymore?

My favourite FA cup song has to be Ossie’s Dream by Tottenham Hotspurs and Chas n Dave. Brilliant. Who remembers Ipswich’s FA cup song? If you know it post it in the COMMENTS box at the bottom. There’ll be a prize for the winner!

The FA cup final was the biggest sporting event of the year. It was one of the only times we’d get to see live football on the telly and despite the fact my own side (ITFC) were only ever in it once I never missed a final.

I even stayed away from my cousins wedding in 1983 as I stayed home to watch Man Utd and Brighton draw 2 each.

As I evolved from boyhood into manhood the FA cup final day was still deemed special. All the boys would meet up and invariably get drunk either in a pub or at someone’s house.

When did it all go wrong? I’d say the inception of Sky Sports started the rot. They saturated us with endless games no-one is interested in. Come on admit it apart from Sunderland and Fulham fans who would watch a game between them on a Monday night?

Tomorrow sees Man City take on Stoke City. Will anyone be watching? I probably wont be. As I said it used to be the biggest game of the season. Now it’s tucked away during a regular week of football. There’s play off matches and a potential premier league winning match taking place at the same time.

The FA cup final is now way down the pecking order. Maybe it’s time to scrap it?

My top three and bottom three FA cup finals

TOP THREE

3) Ipswich Town v Arsenal – 1978

Ipswich dished out the biggest ever 1-0 hiding Wembley had ever seen. See elsewhere on this blog for an in depth review of this day.

2) Man Utd v Brighton – 1983

This game took place on the same day as my cousin Gary’s wedding. The family went to the wedding and I stayed at home. My mate Browny came round and we were babysat by my sister Paula’s current boyfriend. At half time me and Browny went off to do my paper round. 7 minutes flat. A new record. We never missed a minute of the game. It ended 2 each.

1) Everton v Man Utd – 1995

We watched this round Rob Charles’. 16 of us. Why was it my favourite ever final? Well I was the only bloke cheering on Man Utd but won the sweepstake. I had Paul Rideout to score the first goal. £32. Lovely

BOTTOM THREE

3) Spurs v Nottingham Forest – 1991

This is included solely because it was the first final I ever missed. I started watching them back in 1977 watching 14 on the bounce. I was a butcher and couldn’t get the time off.

2) Arsenal v Sheffield Wednesday – 1993

I had a tenner on Wednesday to win this. They lost. Hence being in my bottom three.

1) Liverpool v Arsenal – 2001

At the time I was living in Ipswich and was banned from the Labour Club back in Felixstowe. I didn’t watch the game as I was drinking in The Golden Lion and they didn’t have a telly. I was already down on my luck. I’d missed a pretty decent game and to make matters worse a homosexual guy asked me back to his to “suck his cock” – I declined.

So that’s my memories of the FA cup final day. What’s yours?

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