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The Cup Final

The Cup Final as already observed by Gerald Ingolby was a dull affaire that did little to enhance a competition that has seen better days. The reasons for the decline of the FA Cup are well documented: the plethora of televised football; the lack of a Champions League place for the winner; the influx of overseas players whose home country does not have the same Cup traditions. My personal beefs are the playing of semi finals at Wembley and the kick off time of 5-30. In the battle of tradition v money it always is the latter that wins. Interestingly enough, pre-Wembley Cup Finals (1923) were played at Crystal Palace attracted crowds as high as 120,000, all wearing hats, and even were sometimes played at 11 am to avoid clashing with the Boat Race .

This was the type of fame you might expect between two teams at the polarities of mid table. The United way is attractive football, youth and winning trophies, none of which Louis Van Gaal achieved except bringing on Martial and Rashford although not I don’t see Mourinho achieving any of those three except short term silverware. They lacked yesterday the mercurial game changer: a George  Best, Eric Cantona, Ronaldo. Ever since I’ve watched Crystal Palace for over 40 years they have produced black sinewy pacy forwards like Vince Hilaire, John Salako, through to Victor Moses and Wilfred Zaha. They never seem to achieve their potential. Defensively yesterday they did better. Just as Leicester won the Premiership with Robert Huth and Wes Morgan, Palace relied on another stalwart Scot Dann at the heart of the defence. The whole unit blocked and frustrated the quick United forwards as the game became clogged down in a stalemate only relieved by the Thomas Puncheon strike. Had it have been a Premier game, I would have switched  to the radio commentary to do something else. I went for the BBC to avoid adverts.  Guy Mowbray prepared well with some interesting facts like Alan Pardew, who has now lost three times as player and manager, would have been the only second English manager to win in the last 20 years, the other being Harry Redknapp with Portsmouth. Martin Keown the summariser  can be ponderous but good at analysing defence. I’m pleased too that Guy Mowbray called as it was: a disappointing poor match. United won it but any hopes that Louis Van Gaal had that his job was safe were dashed with appointment of Mourinho. Many United fans I know are less than happy as the quality of football will not improve. I suspect that the long absence post Matt Busby of a trophy and their appointment of Giuardiola at Manchester City swayed the United board. We will see.

About Rex Mitchell

Rex Mitchell is a Brentford supporter from childhood. This has not prevented him having a distinguished Fleet Street career as a sports reporter and later deputy football editor. A widower, Rex is a bit of a bandit golfer off his official handicap of 20 and is currently chairman of his local bowls club. More Posts