Saturday, March 08, 2008

We love you Barnsley, we do.....



No disrespect to fans of Manchester United and Chelski, but what a wonderful day of FA Cup football. For the first time in 17 years, this year's Cup final will be contested between teams outside of the 'Big Four' who have dominated our game since Money Power ruled the roost.

The FA Cup used to be the competition in which anything was possible, as fans of Wimbledon, Southampton, Sunderland, Coventry and Ipswich will testify. But in recent years it has become mind numbingly predictable: no team outside of the 'Big Four' has lifted the trophy since 1995. That is, until 2008. The multi-millionaires of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelski are all out. Only Portsmouth (last Cup win 1939), Barnsley (last Cup win 1912), Middlesbrough (never won the FA Cup), Cardiff City (last Cup win 1927), Bristol Rovers (never won the FA Cup), and West Brom (last Cup win 1968), remain in the competition. For too long the 'Big Four' have had it all their own way. Isn't it wonderful to see football's plutocrats finally knocked off their perch?

7 comments:

olching said...

Yep, yep. And without wanting to jinx it: Come on the Gas! Although West Brom are a tough 'un. But what an FA Cup...!

Douglas said...

Since the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox both ended long droughts without a championship, I'm hoping for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series this year. Their last World Series win was in 1908. The Cubs were even mocked in a crossword puzzle, which I wrote about here

Johny said...

First time I have ever agreed with Mr Clark.

Karl Naylor said...

I can't pretend to have ever been interested in football very much but from what little I do now there seems to be not much point in supporting Premiership clubs. It's no different than 'supporting Nike or Adidas.

The top teams have become brands invested with llustrious and pretigious memories but now devoid of any real roots in the communities or even the nation in which they developed.

Last time I looked Chelsea had two British players. So why not just support Juventus then ? Otherwise, what is it you are supporting ? Identifying with 'success' and wearing it as some badge of pride. I don't get it.

That's why people might want smaller clubs to win the FA Cup. It's nostalgia again. But the FA Cup isn't half so important as it once was. A Cup Final does not seem to be the totemic annual sporting event it once was.

The performance of the national team is so obsessive now, perhaps, exactly because the clubs are no longer 'British' in any meaningful sense. Though, it wouldn't surpise me if the rules will start to be manipulated to allow foreign nationals to play at national level too.

The USA wins a lot in sport because it has money and often just nicks the talent. The German national team has two Poles in it and the Polish football team had a Nigerian a few years ago. The notion is growing that richer nations can just buy success.

Another sign that the world is becoming ever more boring and driven by money power alone.

olching said...

Ah, well, we're out. Slightly deflated after the madness of the other three matches, but good luck to West Brom in the semis...

Neil Clark said...

olching: sorry about you going out of the Cup. I thought you played well and it was good the way you came back from 2-0 down. It could be WBA's year- 1968 anniversaries and all that....
douglas: I hope the Cubs can win it too. 1908 is too long ago!

karl: agreed: the championship and the lower leagues is where it's at now. The Premiership has become mind-numbingly dull. Money power makes everything more boring, from our High Streets, to the Premier league table.
johny: hope it's not the last time!

a very public sociologist said...

I don't follow the footy, but this has genuinely kindled a bit of excitement in me. Who to support?