Eclectic Blue

Sweet FA

1 Comment 27 May 2017

Sweet FA

What, in my childhood and for the decades that followed, was the most exciting day of the year is now down there with the least exciting day of the year. I remember spending weeks looking forward to the FA Cup final, regardless of who was in it. The game itself was almost always a massive disappointment but everything leading up to it was wonderful.

The BBC devoted its entire morning schedule to the build up, from FA Cup “It’s a Knockout” to “Meet the teams”. I left the TV only to visit the loo or to buy some chips at lunchtime. I didn’t want to miss a moment. ITV used to broadcast the game simultaneously and before it they would show an epic wrestling match between, say, Mick McManus and Jackie “Mr TV” Pallo. I’d be right in the mood by kick off time, always on the BBC. No expert panels. Just the game itself. What has changed?

The answer to what has changed is that everything has changed. The FA Cup is way down the list of football priorities for the top teams. The Premier League is all that matters because that’s where the money is. The Premier League can take you into the Champions League, the FA Cup offering merely the Europa League. The semi-finals are also at Wembley, the game now kicks off at 5.30. What is that all about? The FA Cup starts at 3.00 pm. That’s the law, or it should be. And even though the game is free to air on the BBC, hardly anyone, save the supporters of both teams, give a toss who wins.

I have a problem with the new Wembley too. I’ve been there a few times since it reopened, mainly for rugby league games. I don’t like it for all sorts of reasons but mainly the constant dull sound of thousands of people talking. Sound wise, I have never experienced anything like it anywhere else and it sounds even worse on the telly.

Even if you are as disinterested as I am with the FA Cup final – the only bit of the tournament I enjoy these days is the draw for the Third Round – there’s lots of alternatives for the sports fan, but all of it is on Sky and BT. A one day cricket match between England and South Africa, practice for the Monaco Grand Prix (zzzzz), the British PGA Golf tournament and the rugby union premiership final, all of which now assume national irrelevance to the vast majority of the public. The shared experience of watching sport on TV gone and probably gone forever.

Today, Chelsea and Arsenal will battle it out for what, indeed? It’s a trophy, sure, and no player will want to lose, but for your average punter? It will be forgotten in a heartbeat.

I am not sure the FA Cup can be saved. A return to 3.00pm, the end of semi-finals at Wembley and the award of a Champions League place for the cup winners might help. Or perhaps it’s a competition that has passed its sell-by date? Either way, I won’t be watching and I don’t care who wins. If you’d told me I’d feel like that one day, when watching the game on my grandfather’s tiny black and white TV, I’d have probably laughed in your face. Not now though.

Your Comments

1 comment

  1. Monctonian says:

    3.00 kick off? No thanks.

    The biggest issue with the cup final is it’s usually very sunny and you get that irritating shadow over half the pitch and the broadcaster has to keep changing the brightness/darkness as play moves from one area to another so you can see it on telly.

    The later kick off has solved that 🙂

© 2018 Eclectic Blue. Powered by WordPress.

Daily Edition Theme by WooThemes - Premium WordPress Themes