Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sporting


It's Cup Final day! Huzzah!

There are far more important things going on in the world at this very moment - not least the appearance at long last of a successor in the England cricket team to this man minor deity (only as a batsman, that is. He will never have to keep to DL Underwood on a drying strip and make it look like shelling peas, so will remain forever untested) (I reckon I'm now down to just two readers who actually understand what the hell I'm going on about), but the Football Association Challenge Cup Final does merit a mention.

For my readers in the United of States this is the English equivalent of nothing you have at all! You must be very jealous. This is first and foremost because it involves a sport that most of the world is familiar with and generally understands the rules thereof; secondly because it involves long periods of sustained action that will actually be all over within 3 hours and thirdly because theoretically it involves every association football club in the country. The last one is actually very important. Yes, it is won every year by a big club but the real drama has been played out since late last year on small club grounds up and down the country as hundreds of local sides attempt to qualify for the later rounds. It still has a huge element of romance about it and it is one of the few competitions where a sporting club can justifiably say that it is all about the taking part. There are still the likes of Hereford, Yeovil, Northwich Victoria and Sutton United making the big boys take it seriously and unlike the justifiably maligned Football League Cup, a big club will often field its top line players even if it's been drawn against the Lostwithiel Post Office XI. There is nothing so ignominious as being dumped out of The Cup by a goal scored by a 37 year-old pipe fitter from Wem. It's also the one thing this totla cnut hasn't managed to buy yet.

That Corinthian spirit is evident in today's Cup Final. There's an honest and hard-grafting team of gritty Northerners, all ex-coalminers, tram drivers and welders, which once bestrode the game like a colossus, now bent on completely unsettling, for the second time this year, the unexpected recent dominance of the collection of fey manicurists and cheating part-time dog-walkers with unpronounceable names from The Kings Road, London SW. Play up and play the game chaps!

Manchester United v. Chelsea. I was born in London and raised in Kent, who on earth do think I will be calling for?


*A bit later. *Yawn* . So much for that then. England are doing well in the test match, eh?

10 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Dave said...

Being a Kentishman myself, I aimed to base my bowling action entirely on Mr Underwood's. Sadly I never suceeded.

(Until virtual cricket came along that is. You did well back behind the sticks this afternoon, by the way - full write-up tomorrow.)

3:28 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Dave, I have been trying the Slogout game on Cricinfo. Maybe the practice has been paying off.

5:16 pm  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Didier Drogba.

I rest my case. Apart from mentioning that Frank Lampard in passing.

Oy. Lay off Lostwithiel Post Office. I hear they're good. Not as good as St Blazey, obviously, but they are the Man U of the Cornish leagues.

I'm off to down another celebratory drink. The game, by the way, was purgatory. Apart from the last five minutes.

5:31 pm  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

Mr Gamon. I am not in possession of sour grapes, but Chelsea won because Manchester United failed to play their own game, and tried to play the Chelsea way. Dull, boring and tedious. If you spend £300 million on a football team and they serve up the sorry tripe that Chelsea do week after week, there cannot be much satisfaction from the investment.
Now, if the Tigers lose tomorrow, I shall be slightly more peeved. I might even be upset for a few minutes.
Cup Final a great occasion? I don't agree. Bloody royal family, bloody "Abide with me" - do they even listen to the words? bloody ticket allocation to miscellaneous odds and sods who haven't been to a match for 10 years. I hope next year's final is between Accrington Stanley and Workington.

5:54 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I have to agree with Vicus there. There was only one player on the pitch as far as I could see and that was Rooney, he never gave up, unlike the rest of the team. The Roma game was some of the most sublime football I've ever seen, this side played like a pub team compared to that. I made a couple of predictions to myself before the game: if anyone was going to score Chelsea's winning goal it would be Drogba and Scholes would get the first booking.

7:56 pm  
Blogger Tennessee Jed said...

I was sure you were going to liken it to baseball in the second paragraphs first sentence...you got me!

9:25 am  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Errr. Vicus - I think you'll find Chelsea won because they STOPPED Manchester United playing their own game, not because Man U failed on their own account.

Hey. It wasn't a great game. I'd have put money on 1-0 between these two. That's the way it sometimes goes. It was still considerably more exciting than watching England v. Australia in the Ashes. Apart from anything else, you don't need a pocket calculator and a copy of Wisden to know what's going on. And you have to keep watching, even when there aren't any goals, in case there is one. Whereas in the Ashes you can look away for... oh, ten minutes at a time, and when you come back the score's still exactly the same.

Seems like that to me, anyway. Maybe I have different blood pressure. But I love you all nonetheless, for all your weird proclivities.

4:05 pm  
Blogger Creweblog said...

Let's be honest, it was rubbish as a spectacle. Many look back at the Roma game and wonder if the same will ever be seen again. I doubt it. Everything clicked that night. Just like Crewe Alexandra when they beat Doncaster Rovers in the lower league cup a few moons ago :-), sublime. I'm off to the first day at the Old Trafford Windies test on June 7th. The cricket can be good, bad or indifferent. I'll be enjoying a beer or two in (hopefully) the Manchester sun...

6:02 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I can't afford test match tickets, Jules. I'll be at the Lancs v. Kent game a few days later instead. There'll be plenty of room to stretch your legs.

9:10 pm  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

See what I mean? Weird...

7:18 am  

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