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Up For The Cup Final / May Daze Upon us

18 May 2008 1,779 views No Comment

For once this Saturday I’ll be away from the retail frenzy in MK. We’ll be celebrating the Father In Laws 90th birthday (Happy Birthday Ken!) with a lunchtime meal followed by the FA Cup Final on TV in the afternoon and in the evening it’ll be over to Adam’s end of season Brickhill Wanderers FC presentation night –where as captain he will be leading the accolades of another good season. The next morning is the last game where he’s hoping to get those elusive two goals. 

Ahh the FA Cup Final …was the time when this would be the essential soccer showpiece end to the season – one of the few matches screened live.

In these days of mass Premiership wall to wall coverage via Sky etc, Cup Final Day has become a lesser attraction. Those of us brought up on a diet of Cup Final Grandstand will nostalgically recall the non stop coverage from early morning – the team coaches arriving, pre and post match interviews etc. The communal singing of Abide with Me. It was a national event that brought the country together…       

Between 1966 and 1999 I missed watching just a handful of cup finals live on TV mostly for Zep related reasons. Firstly in 1975 when I needed to work the Saturday when West Ham beat  Fulham (the great Booby Moore’s Wembley farewell) to be off the next two for the Earls Court gigs. In 1993 I missed the replay between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday (no great loss!) opting instead to attend Robert’s secret gig at the Kings Head (a fairly easy decision).  Five years later on cup final day I was best man as Mr and Mr’s Foy tied the knot (Happy anniversary Gary and Carol!) in Southend   Actually I did get to see a little of Chelsea’s win over Boro and that opening Di Matteo goal inside 90 seconds as we recovered from a boozy lunch before the evening’s reception where I have a vivid memory of the aforementioned newly married Foy’s taking the floor for a romp through Rock And Roll.

I probably can’t tell you what I had for dinner last Wednesday, but I’m pretty good at reeling off the score line for any past war cup final -a party piece guaranteed to liven up any party (or not!) . So if you said 1960 I’ll quickly retort with the score line Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Blackburn 0 which I’m sure pleased the then 12 year old R. Plant. Incidentally the last time Portsmouth were in the final was back in 1939 when they beat the aforementioned Wolves 4 -1. Try me on 1967..or 1981 or 1982 or 1991 and I’ll just grin…because the Spurs went a marching on.

Thankfully the romance of the cup has returned this season and Portsmouth’s dual with Cardiff once again highlights what Hugh Mcllvanney rightly proclaimed in a recent Times article is the enduring appeal of the most popular team game ever devised.

My Welsh blood will be rooting for a Cardiff win.

Hoping to be down at Wembley next Thursday for Robert and Alison’s gig. The TBL meeting place will be The Torch pub on Bridge Road (HA9 9A3) near Wembley Park tube station.

Unsurprisingly on the DL i- pod there’s been plenty of Earls Court recordings as that time of year rolls around and my memories stretch back to that halcyon May daze. It’s always nice when the dates fall on the actual days so I’ll be recalling this weekend that sixpenny jack plug (as Plant put it) that went slightly wrong on the opening Saturday night of May 17th 33 years ago…before everything else went exactly right…     

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