This is a slightly different post than usual. It is about the FA Cup Final. One of the great sporting days in England, traditionally it was the last game of the football season thought this has changed over the last couple of years.
The FA Cup Final or Football Association Challenge Cup to give its full name is the oldest cup competition in world football. It was first played for in 1872 when Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0.
The competition begins in August when the amateur and semi-professional play qualifying rounds to make the main draw. The professional clubs from the Leagues 1and 2 tier join in the 1st round and the clubs from the Premier League and Championship join in the 3rd round. The magic of the FA Cup is that potentially clubs from the lower leagues can play clubs from the Premier League. There have been cases of giant-killing performances. This season Luton Town of the Conference beat Norwich City of the Premier League 1-0 at Norwich in the 4th Round.
Cup Final day has always been a magical day for me. Growing up it was one of the few games that was shown live on television. It was not just the match, there was the build up which lasted throughout the day until kick off. Particularly the singing of the Cup Final hymn 'Abide With Me'. A strange choice as it is normally sang at funerals. I always find it a emotional moment. I am not alone, just search You Tube for the effect it had on Elton John.
Another piece of magic about the cup is that you are never certain who would win. I have witnessed some acts of giant-killing. Here are two that I would like to mention.
1973 – Sunderland beating Leeds United 1-0. Sunderland were at that time a second division club and Leeds were the biggest club in the country. I can still hear that magic piece of commentary, “Porterfield, 1-0.”
1988 – Wimbledon beating Liverpool 1-0. “The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club.” Wimbledon had been a semi-professional club up until 1977. Liverpool had won the league in a convincing manner during the season.
This years final has the potential to create another piece of giant-killing. Manchester City will play Wigan Athletic. City are one of the richest clubs in the world while Wigan continually struggle to stay in the Premier League.
Personally, I feel that Manchester City will win 2-0.
As always I will place on front of the TV until the game has finished. Whatever the result it is always a great occasion which I will always enjoy.
Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.