the Cup final on Saturday.
I think it’s only the second F.A. Cup final I’ve missed in my “football life”. I really couldn’t be arsed for the ’99 final between ManUre and the Toon, something about finding a bar that was showing the game at 7 in the am and the fact it would mean having to get up far earlier than that went someway to dissuade me. I don’t think my mate Don would have been too happy to get a call that early in the morning to give us a lift to that bar he knew that showed English games either.
So Saturday found me in much the same situation but for different reasons. Don’t have Santana or what ever they are called – are they even still going? – and STV decided not to bother with any of the games shown “live and exclusive” on the rest of the ITV network in this season’s competition. I couldn’t be arsed finding somewhere showing a game between two teams I have no allegiance to and I couldn’t be bothered watching it on a PC, last time it was just such a pain in the arse, freezing, jittery pictures in between little buffering animations.
So instead of the usual crap from the ITV commentators, who was it Tyldesley and Pleat or the other cretins? The other two interchangeable ones who are always reading out their script looking for a “they think it’s all over moment” and does Jim Beglin actually know what a foul is, a player could be carried off with his leg hanging from the slightest thread of skin and it would be a case of him “making the most of that, not a foul for me” from Jim.
It was down to the good old radio, which meant being able to spend the afternoon in the sun but also meant having to endure Alan “it’s a big game so I have to be here” Green. A situation where you have to remember that the game is not the most important thing, it’s not even second. It comes a long way down the list, well behind the likes of what Alan thinks of the ref, the pitch, the fans, the seating, the commentary position, the FA, UEFA, FIFA, the stadium, the trip to the stadium, the weather, something on TV, the food, the drink, his stopwatch, his pen, his notebook etc etc.
But even through all that I managed to gather that Everton after a great start did go a bit Wimbledon on us and that Ashley Cole wasn’t really the man of the match – how has that scumbag become the only person in the last 100 years to hold 5 winners medals? – and that it’s great that Guus is a man of his word.
And that last fact is the best for the rest of us, of course it shouldn’t have happened like this, back when Svennis handed in his notice the Dutchman should have been quietly approached to be the new manager, it should have been all above board let him do what he had to do with his then employers and then he could join up with England. But no the F.A. went about it in their typical useless fashion, wanted him to audition, Hiddink took offence, did well with Australia and then went off to Russia, where he did not bad.
Just look what he did with a completely dispirited Chelsea side in three and a bit months, a good league run, one F.A. Cup and really should have been in the Champions League final. After Scolari – yes I know he was my second choice after Guus but I also think if they’d have kept Steve Clarke as his assistant things wouldn’t have turned out as bad for the big Brazilian – he totally changed the mentality of the team as a whole and along with individual players.
Drogba from looking like someone who couldn’t give a crap was back again playing out of his skin, though of course still doing his usual scummy on field act, he started to link well with Anelka who could stop being involved with goals, scoring or assists. Malouda, a complete shambles under all the previous Chelsea bosses he’s played ended up looking like the sort of player you’d want in your side not a player who is just there because there’s no one else. Even the aforementioned Cole picked his game up.
I can’t see them keeping that up with the new guy Ancelotti, they’re an aging side and should be looking for new younger blood, but the Italian, who has been very successful over there, likes aging sides and will probably want to bring over a bunch of the Milan old guard to feel more at home, Beckham, Pirlo, will Shevchenko come back. All to be outpaced by the English game as the Italian sides have been in the Champions League over the last few seasons.
How long do you give him, and will he have learned the language by the time his time is up?
Meanwhile Guus stuck to his word and is off back to Mother Russia, when he could have or should have been flying out to Kazakhstan with England for the World Cup qualifier. Just think what he could have done with that disparate bunch that wear the three lions, Fabio has had the results but it’s all a bit flattering to deceive, with Hiddink in charge it would feel more solid, more real there would be a better chance of something tangible at the end.
I would also like to point out I didn’t watch any finals on Saturday.