Saturday, May 28, 2011

The old and the new.

It has never been my desire or intention to harp on about the old day and old fashioned ways. There is an awful lot about 'now' that is really good and useful, I'm glad I live in the present.
But here comes the but.

When I were a lad, Cup final day was a holy day. The nation paused, you watched telly from lunchtime until 5.30. I don't know what the outside world looked like on those saturdays in May, I never left the house. It was always on a sunny Saturday in May and the build up was giddily exciting , even if the game was anything but. Cup Final day marked the start of summer. And as for the name? It was the Cup, You didn't need to call it anything else.

And during those days there was also the European Cup. Between 1977 and 1984 English clubs won seven out of the eight finals. It was expected that an English team (normally Liverpool) would be in the final and would be pictured the next day emerging from a plane with the trophy. You would stay up late on a Wednesday night and watch the slightly scratchy pictures from Rome or Paris, the commentary would have that wonderful longwave radio quality. Those were the days long before digital, HD quality.

So what's changed? In short, plenty.

Let's start with the FA Cup. It's had a sponsor for years and has perhaps graduallylost some of it's aura. A couple of years ago the cup 'needed a cuddle' and got it with a drab Portsmouth V Cardiff final. This year (ironically because of the ECL final at Wembley tonight) the final was bedded in amongst Premiership fixtures two weeks ago. I caught about ten minutes of the match. The holiest day of the year was completely lost amongst relegation struggles. Tonight, I settle in front of the telly with some grub and a beer in order to support Barcelona against Manchester United in The Champions League final.

Supporting Barca? Surely unpatriotic. Cobblers. I've a few teams I dislike for a number of strange irrational reasons. I dislike United for one simple reason.

Their fans.

Almost every full grown United fan I have ever met has been a pillock. I have never met a United fan over the age of 11 who has not got an excuse for supporting them . An excuse? You should be proud to follow your team. You should not need an excuse!
"United were crap in the 80's"
"My dad's cousin was from Manchester" (But you have lived your entire life in Essex?)

And in a nod towards tonight's coverage of the big game, I do not need Christopher Ecclestone to tell me where I have gone wrong! You were a good Dr Who but you know 'shit all' about football.
I accept that they are the benchmark and that Sir Alex Ferguson is an incredible manager, and I don't buy into the idea that Barcelona represent all that is beautiful and good in a sour old world, But I still reserve the right to cheer on whoever United are playing

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