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Monday, June 01, 2015

'When our society was more equal, our football was more equal too'

My new piece from The Week on why Saturday was a sad day for football romantics.

First things first: Arsenal were great at Wembley and congratulations to manager Arsene Wenger, and to Gunners supporters. But for romantics, the FA Cup, the tournament that we're repeatedly told "anyone can win", has become a disappointment.
Consider the facts:

You can read the whole piece here.


Robin Carmody said...

Can't disagree with the more general point, but I was glad Arsenal won mainly because I thought Southampton deserved a Europa League place far more than Sherwood's UKIP football.

Possibly there's an argument that Scotland's retention of certain aspects of post-war Britishness such as England has rejected is reflected in its (for the first time in history) comparatively more egalitarian football, for all that only one team can realistically win the actual league title at present?

Unknown said...

A real tragedy the way football has become in my opinion with the cup final relegated to some bit part side show and it isn't how remember it at all! Up early watching the build up then the game itself! Truly the greatest cup competition in the world! For many years I was a mufc season ticket holder so I have enjoyed the successes but I vividly remember the disappointment and the shocks such as Oxford Bournemouth York city ect ect so some amazing times really! But look at how the game has become where money is now king and it is indeed for the worse! Seemed to me the money monsters were not content for the working classes to go to a game relatively cheaply and at least enjoy a few beers even if the result wasn't wished for! Oh no they saw an opportunity and struck and Murdochs sky empire are complicit in the games demise...I vividly remember when sky kicked off they claimed the match going fan will be paying "buttons" to attend games and we'd be there to provide the atmosphere for the armchair supporter! Well that's two things out the window for a start..high ticket prices and a lack of atmosphere! On top of that we have a system where it's not important to actually win the league as a top four place suffices to ensure further riches of the European money chest speaking of which how many times has the champions league format been altered to placate the big guns of European football?? I can go on and on as it was a great passion of mine following my team but the increases put pay to that and the instant transactions if my team further themselves in the cup regardless of the funds being in or not so more often than not bank charges!!!!.. I don't miss the game I left but by hell do I miss what it was...queuing for tickets for a replay on a Monday morning even sending postal orders for greatly anticipated cup fixtures the terraces the meat pies and the camaraderie! I really miss all that even the cup upsets it made it what it was nowadays it's a half look at the cup final in a half empty hostelry with a half hearted attempt to relive the magic and it indeed was just that pure magic! I've voted with my feet and got rid of sky TV and it's very liberating

Neil Clark said...

Hi Robin,Good to hear from you- hope all's well. Yes, good point about Scotland- at least in regards to the Cups things are very interesting at the moment.

del: Very good points- I totally agree. I loved going to football before the Big Money kicked in. Loved the fact you had lots of real Cup shocks, and that a wide range of clubs could put in serious bids for the title. Yes, BBC tried their best to get the old Cup final day atmosphere back- but it all felt a bit contrived and of course spoilt by late kick-off.