Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Has the FA Cup Runneth Dry?

The FA Cup 3rd round begins this weekend and it's a competition that evokes good memories for Manchester United fans even though they haven't won it since 2004 it has always held a special place in the club's illustrious history.

On a personal note, the cup brings up a feeling of warmth from my younger days in a time when if United wasn't involved in the final then you rooted for the underdog and sometimes they prevailed against all odds.

In 1973, as a youngster I watched Sunderland defeat the mighty Leeds United, and yes, they were a big side then. There I was eating a meat pie stood outside Granada Rentals in Manchester watching the match through the shop window after I had been dragged out shopping by my mum and elated that the cup holders Leeds had lost in what was then a huge shock.

The romance of the cup has never left me since that day and even though it doesn't hold the same appeal as days gone by, it is still the FA Cup, the oldest club competition in the world of football and should be taken seriously by all clubs and fans as it is a chance for the 'David's' to take on and defeat the 'Goliath's' of football and become giant killers.

It is true that the coverage of the final by the TV networks doesn't exactly mirror the past and it did kind of lose its appeal when the finals were moved to Cardiff when Wembley was undergoing its transformation, but none of that can detract from the sense of anticipation when the draw for the rounds is being made. I still remember the excitement that it brought when myself and my school friends huddled around a smuggled in radio at school waiting for United's number to be drawn with hopefully a home tie.

I distinctly recall on FA Cup final day in 1983 United played Brighton at Wembley and the coverage started on TV early in the morning and ran right through to the kickoff, which was the cup final tradition in those days.

The BBC and ITV had cameras in the team's hotels, not to show staged interviews, but to follow the players around and get a sense of what they were feeling in the build-up to the final. I can still see the United captain Bryan Robson being interviewed as he was shaving in his hotel room.

This all day coverage brought the fans unique access to their heroes and gave us a glimpse into the world of a footballer and you know what it made us realise that apart from the money and fame the players were also fans like us.

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Manchester United Views is a Manchester United blog written by Miles Dunton, with lost of blog posts all about Manchester United. Check out his full blog at http://milesduntonmufc.blogspot.co.uk/.

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