The first one I watched was back in '74 when Liverpool beat Newcastle United.
In the 70s and 80s it was the biggest game of the year, surpassing the European Cup final and the League's final day.
As a boy I loved it. I watched the whole day on the telly with my bro and granda. FA Cup Grandstand covered the lot, the build-up, the journey of each of the finalists, the match. It was so good. My mum and granny would shuttle back and forth all day with lunch on trays, crisps, chocolate and tins of coke. Such a special day! For me, it signified the start of the summer, with only a few weeks left of school.
Then the rot set in and its role in British life has dwindled. The Premier League and Champions league are where the money lies, the once dominant FA Cup is now only a side note. Sure, it still throws up epic matches and giant killing, but it no longer holds that special place in the season. For me, now, it is a chance to catch up with my oul mates.
Since the 90s it has been a yearly ritual to meet up at someone's house, get pissed and eat curry while watching the final. Since the 90s our addiction to beer and soft drugs has given way to an addiction for sport, and we now fall neatly into two camps: the "golf wankers" and the "lycra wankers". So, as a fanatical lycra wearing wanker, it is a great chance for me to catch up with my golf wanking mates, who I now only see maybe half a dozen times per year at most.
Unfortunately, this year's final was a bit of a damp squib, zero-zero after 120 minutes. As often happens in these types of final, as the drink sets in there was more talking than watching. This year's host is a fanatical Liverpool fan and a notoriously emotional guy, so there was a maximum wind-up effort during the penalty shoot-out. He was forced to squirm until the final successful penalty gave the cup to Liverpool, and he was able to rub his victory well and truly in.
The year will record that Liverpool won both the domestic cups, but few will remember the two dire nil-nil draws. Liverpool will be cock-a-hoop that they have secured two trophies this season, but their eyes will be on those two bigger prizes.
I have to say that the Cup Final was the most absorbing 0-0 draw I have ever watched. I think also that penalty shoot outs despite all their associated drama and tension do devalue Cup competitions further,ReplyDelete
This brought back so many memories to me. The first one Peter watched, I saw in the canteen of A Wing, Crumlin Road Jail. I was 16 and while still a Manchester City fan, I had Liverpool as a strong second since watching them beat the Blues at Windsor in 68. They beat Newcastle 3-0. The first one I watched was Everton's 1966 3-2 victory over Wednesday. Came back from 2-0 down. I can't recall the Spurs final the following year but recall the WBA victory in 68 and the great finals to follow. I was so disappointed in 77 when Liverpool lost out on the Treble when Utd took the FA Cup final in a great game.ReplyDelete
Back in the 60s and early 70s, like Peter, we made a day of it. I missed the 73 final when Sunderland beat Leeds only because I was in Hampden watching Rangers beat Celtic 3-2.
It is sad to see it lose its stature as a trophy - back in the day it was on a par with the League title and there was no day in soccer to rival it.
Couldn't agree more, FA Cup final day was the Saturday of the year. Leeds Chelsea 1970, replay at Old Trafford, 1971 Arsenals double winning side managed by Bertie Mee. The nightmare, for me, of 1976 when Bobby Stokes scored a dubious goal for Southampton and the following year Man Utd returned to beat Liverpool. I had a ticket for the game but could not go due to smashing my motorbile into a telegraph pole, so had to watch it up to my waist in plaster, at home. 1978 Ipswich beat Arsenal and 79 we returned for the final against Arsenal. This time I did go, massive cardboard red and white top hat I'd made only for Alan Sunderland to destroy our dreams. We were still celebrating our equaliser when Sunderland struck.ReplyDelete
As Peter said, as kids sambos and sausage rolls were served in our house all day along with lemonade, dandilion and burdock and orange juice. Later this was replaced with Long Life ale. Great days but today, thanks to the parasitical money people who run, or, perhaps more appropriately, run the game into the ground, those days are fond memories.
After the English FA Cup highlights from Hampden, usually Celtic v Rangers would be shown with Archie McPherson commenting.
Great days, gone for ever I fear.
I remember each of those finals Caoimhin. The 1970 one and the replay made for great viewing. Listened to the 76 one on radio as we were on lock down in the Crum - I was in the cell with a Man U fan who was devastated. Arsenal were all over Ipswich in 78 but Mick Mills held the line and won out in the end. Ipswich were quite a team then and were pipped at the post for the league title in 81. The 79 one, we were on the blanket but could just about make out what was going on from the orderlies and screws watching it in the canteen. The sound would drift down to us. I remember the Arsenal winner so well!!Delete
Coventry '87, Wimbledon '88 and Liverpool '89 were the last of the great finals. Maybe I changed or maybe football changed, but when I look through the list of finals in the '90s I don't remember some of them.Delete
I refused to watch it as the omens for us were not good. Flipping need our off the pitch issues sorted ASAP.ReplyDelete
I sincerely hope that your off the field issues are sorted and that you do not face sporting sanctions. Supporters should not have to pay the emotional costs for the shit that club owners and chairmen do.Delete