There was a certain amount of momentum leading up to the 2007 FA Cup final. Scores to be settled from the Premiership, a new and long awaited national stadium, and with that a general acceptance that football was finally coming home – sort of. The scene was set, the predictions made and the obligatory case of Carlsberg lugged back from the Offy in time for kick off. I was even looking forward to the pre match banter and pundity so essential to such an occasion.
The Empire all over again for 90 minutes as the world tunes in and sees how great we are – the romance of the FA Cup.
So where did it all go wrong? For me, it probably started at the point where Mike Summerbee walked onto the pitch to a chorus of Abuse from the Man Yoo fans. I asked myself what a man has done to deserve such treatment after dedicating his life to the game, representing his country and playing over 400 games for Manchester City. The sight of parents with dirty fingernails booing an elderly man in front of their children is probably everything you need to know about Man Yoo and its glory hunting support.
It’s a shame that those same supporters, probably from the Home Counties, couldn’t find it in themselves to abuse the balding heir to the throne as he delivered an entirely predictable speech as President of the FA. Who really deserves our praise? At least Mike Summerbee understood the offside rule.
So even before one of the most tedious games in the history of the sport kicked off, the day was tarnished. Perhaps that’s what happens when things get built up too much. Reality has a habit of biting us on the arse.
I’m glad Man Yoo lost, the only down side being that it was to Chelsea, the team of choice for fake football violence and its student flirtations. A team that has become synonymous with the brutality of greed, and cheating players like Michael Essien. A team that’s as ugly as the part of London from which it derives its name.
Apparently it was a good goal, but by then we’d stopped watching, the overwhelming anti climax being enough to make the Karen Carpenter story sound like a night on the piss with Roy Chubby Brown.
But should I be surprised? Maybe it’s not just the FA Cup, maybe it’s the game itself that is changing. It’s no secret that all those London Taxi drivers that used to go and watch the Arsenal have been priced out of their sport. Replaced by gaggles of women and Russian men with too much money to burn. Thus, changing one of the tenets of working class life into just another spectator sport like Rugby, or horse racing. But that’s for another day.
I love football, but the 2007 FA Cup final was crap.