The magic of the FA Cup

Wishlist for the 2009/2010 Season

Continuing my preview of the season, here's the second entry in the wishlist for the year ahead. It's the FA Cup.

First in the series was about our wonderful enigma, Jermaine Jenas. Read it here.


The Magic of the FA Cup

I'm not asking for the moon on a stick. Just a 9th FA Cup final win. It's been a while. Too long, since we graced the final of this great competition that is no longer as great as it once was thanks to the post-Champions League era dominating football priorities. I remember the days when you could look back and re-call every Cup final. The scores, the scorers, the drama…everything. Whether it was Man Utd pulling out of the competition or the move to Cardiff or perhaps (grudgingly) the amount of finals the scum got to, the aura was not quite the same. Still isn't today. Has football changed that much or is it simply the way I'm perceiving things? Arguably, clubs (and fans) obsess over the dream of CL qualification rather than picking up silverware. Shouldn't the latter be the priority? Winning the league would be the ultimate, but that's hardly realistic for most clubs, other than possibly three (at a stretch four) clubs in the Prem.

You know how you sit down to play the latest 3rd person shooters on your PS3 or Xbox and sit in awe of the stunning HD graphics and 5.1 surround sound, but feel a little empty as the game-play is somehow lacking. For all it's photo-realism, the playability bores you after a while. Far too much style, not enough substance. You then think back to when you were a kid, playing Jet Pac on your Spectrum 48k and how much fun that was, with its basic as it gets graphics and sound effects of blips and fragmented notes that vaguely resemble music. Next thing you know, you're installing an emulator and downloading a rom. Then 30 seconds later you're bored shitless. It's actually crap. It was addictive and playable back in the early 80's but it's basically fundamentally shit beyond comparison to anything in today's super-advanced world. Games on your mobile phone are vastly superior and more playable.

The memory of something old is best kept in the past. Time have changed, everything has moved on. Well, this maybe the case for computer games, but it's not the case with the FA Cup.

Cup finals were better back in the day. They will stand the test of time. Most cup finals in the 70's and 80's were and still are classics. Meant something to win it. Meant something big. You can't honestly say it means as much nowadays. But then I couldn't tell you because we haven't paraded the cup since '91. Such is the intensity of the Top 4 and their lust for the title and for cementing their positions in the CL, that the FA Cup (and even more so the League Cup) are deemed as nice add-ons. Which they've also pretty much managed to dominate too. Mostly with second-string teams making their way to the finals.

The odd giant killing here and there might have commentators spewing out the ever so popular sound-bite referencing how the romance of the Cup is alive and kicking, but it's just not the same. I might have this all wrong. Maybe I'm just bitter. Jealous. I just want us to reclaim our top spot in FA Cup most-wins table. History and silverware says more than how many times you've managed to finish 4th (something else we can't lay claim to in the Premiership years).

It's time we had our white and blue colours back on the Cup.

This was once upon a time our cup. Ossie's Dream. That goal by Villa. The comeback against Forest. Even the games leading up to the final were superb. Hoddle's chip against Watford. The free kick from Gascoigne that left David Seaman very disappointed. Even that agonising defeat to Coventry in what was a brilliant game summed up just how great a competition this is (was). There was a buzz about it.

I want us to reclaim that buzz. A winning one.

Our Carling Cup adventures have been very welcomed, but it's the FA Cup where our true pedigree is, laying dormant, waiting for the return of it's kings to reclaim their throne.

With no European football to distract us from the league, the FA Cup should be as much of a priority as finishing in the Top 6. Open bus parade…is that too much to ask for?


More to come:

The next Lilywhite prodigy
Fortress Lane
Defoe the Prolific
5-0 wins please
Relentless and Ruthless
Top 6 challenge (no bottom half of the table antics)
Huddlestone - The Immovable Object
Love-in for Wilson and Luka