On the National Rust we know the editor will only publish two offerings a day and, if you write on a conventional topic covered in the media, you have little chance. I was initally going to defend Richard Scudamore – who has done so much to take the Premier global – in the face of strident criticism from a person who might tick the diversity boxes but whose sum achievement in football is as chief executive of Millwall. However, the Cup Final was so captivating and did so much to restore the glory of the competition that I’m going to cover it. I followed it on BT Sport rather than ITV as I find Clive Tyldesley talks too much and is too pleased with himself. Ian Darke provided a balanced commentary and Michael Owen, notwithstanding his monotonous voice, gave some valuable insight into striking. Neil Warnock overdoes the bluff Yorkshireman, but spotted that Arsenal were not dealing with the threat of Hull’s wing backs. On Sky they tend to assume that they invented modern football so I was pleased that Ian Darke recalled the 1966 Final that this one resembled. Then the less-fancied side Sheffield Wednesday took a two goal lead only for Everton, the country’s leading team, to win 3-2 with a couple of goals from Cornishman Mike Trebilock.
Hull were worthy losers and I felt for Steve Bruce. In many ways he is the antithesis of Arsene Wenger, who can get still wear his first Cup Final suit. Steve Bruce could not, as he has ballooned since his playing days, but there is something genuine and appealing about the man. Whereas Arsene came out holding the hand of a mascot but totally ‘in the zone’, Steve found time to talk and josh with his charges. Given he was without his two main strikers ,Jelavic and Long, his Hull performed so well with his son Alex having a especially effective game. Curtis Davies was my man of the match, whilst the two-footed, deep-lying, Huddlestone offers many options. Roy Hodgson could do worse than to call up both.
Arsenal should have wrapped up the game without extra time when Hull hung grimly on and in. However, the Tigers played their part in what will go down as a classic cup final alongside Everton v Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland beating Leeds and Coventry’s 3-2 defeat of Spurs.