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.