Friday, 13 May 2011

Remember the old days when it was Cup Final Day?

Getting up on that Saturday morning in May, watching Saturday Superstore / Going Live* and waiting for it to finish before Cup Final Grandstand starts at 12.15pm, right after 5minutes of BBC News, which allows you to run upstairs and get your final bit of footy kit on for the afternoon ready for the one match that is being played today in England that everyone is concentrating on.

Then at 1pm, it’s time to decide what to do, do you flick over to ITV for World of Sport Cup Final Special with Dickie Davies live from Wembley, or do you stick with the BBC who are currently interviewing The Three Degrees right next to one of the Wembley Towers?

You decide to switch over to ITV where Saint & Greavsie have just appeared and you think you’ve made the right decision until you happen just to flick back to the BBC and they are now showing live pictures from the helicopter that is following the path of the coaches from the team hotels. Damn, missed them getting on the bus and sharing jokes with fans at the hotel entrance, but you’re pleased when you see the teams arrive at Wembley Way where the roar goes up.

So, sticking with BBC1 and then you’re glad you did as they’re about to start a special edition of Cup Final Question of Sport, with some celebrities joining them as they happen to support the two teams involved, but it’s still a good craic.
Once finished you zap over to ITV who are on a quick break, so you think “Good, I wanted that to happen as I prefer the BBC coverage of it!” – although Des Lynam starts to go on a little bit too long so you can’t resist the temptation to get up off your backside and turn the tv over by hand – yes not with a remote control – and happily they have started ‘The Road to Wembley’ feature with Brian Moore shouting “It’s in there!” during many of the goals they are showing.

Once finished, Jim Rosenthal then appears talking up the atmosphere that is starting to build – at this time you’re desperate for a pee having sat starry-eyed at the screen for nearly 2 hours!

Back downstairs again and the Cup Final atmosphere in your living room gets better as your mum says, “I’m off out to see your Aunty Amy for a while” – result, as soon as the door shuts, the volume on the tv gets turned up a few notches – again, no remote control!

It’s 2.30 and thoughts start to turn to who is going to be the Cup Final Hero this year, then the pre match entertainment kicks in with the Brass Band out in the centre circle, whilst the sun shines and flags are waved everywhere all round the ground, it’s great this, it’s what football is all about.

Then 2.45pm and the teams are getting ready, but first (on the BBC coverage as it’s better again now that John Motson is on the mike again) some bloke you’ve never heard of but all of a sudden you want to hear, sings “Abide with Me” along with half the Wembley crowd, the other half are kids who have no idea what the song is – even you don’t really know what it is, but it sounds good, because it’s Wembley.

Then the teams come out at the same time, and it looks great, the managers nervously leading their sides out, and lining up – followed by the obligatory handshakes with the FA – where is he? Ah yes, there he is, Graham Kelly, that weird looking fat bloke, who you don’t really like.

Then the crescendo of noise as at 3pm the referee blows his whistle for the start of the game – fantastic, it’s finally arrived after all the wait.
It’s time then to get lost in the emotions of the game, as a kid you’re loving just watching this, and the pitch just seems bigger than any other pitch in the land – and you’re enjoying the game, and quickly, very quickly in fact, half time arrives, and it’s time to run into the kitchen for a coke, before settling back down for the second half.
The match gets underway again, and once again, you ride through the second half wondering who is going to win, then a last minute equalizer means it’s going to extra time – this is great, more football, and in that first period of extra time you laugh to yourself when it appears on screen “Due to the extra time, BBC News will start later than advertised” – shame hey.
Then the game comes to an end, your day is nearly over, the Cup gets lifted whilst the fans party inside the ground, well half of them do, but even in them days, the other half tend to hang around to see it to the very end!

Finally the marathon that is Cup Final Day is over, but you just hang on to watch the BBC News right after just to see if they have it as their main headline, and yes they do, forget wars going on in the world, the Cup Final outcome is the main story – then you leave the news on waiting to see if they mention it again, but you actually get the bonus of seeing the goals from the Scottish Cup Final – brilliant!

The news finishes, and that signals the end of your day, you go out to play with the football that you’ve been rolling around on the carpet in your front room pretending to be Gary Lineker or Bryan Robson.

So, what will you be doing tomorrow then for Cup Final Day?

Getting up with little motivation, maybe having a check of the Blackburn v Man Utd score on Sky (teletext if no Sky), seeing what needs doing in the garden as it looks nice outside, forget that the Cup Final kicked off at 3pm, so at 3.30 you check the score, it’s 0-0 and you think “hmmph haven’t missed much obviously” – then return for a bit of a watch of the second half, but really cannot be bothered to keep focussed on it, the phone goes, you consider pressing the pause button on the tv, but don’t.

The match then ends, with half of Wembley empty by 4.50pm as the fans don’t want to hang around to see the other team celebrate, and you wait to see the Cup lifted, not really knowing what the final score was, and then the tv gets switched over to Channel 4 where they’re doing a repeat of Deal or No Deal!

Not quite the same these days is it?

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