We’re of to the Cup Final for the second time this year

By Tony Attwood

The last time I went to two Cup Finals in one season was 1993: the League Cup final on 18 April 1993 and the FA Cup final on 15 May.  We played Sheffield Wednesday both times, and won both.  One of the George Graham triumphs.  Totally ignored by the press, of course, who continued to talk about Liverpool as they always did at t he time.

Now I find myself doing it again as Ian, his sons and myself set sail (not literally) to Milton Keynes where the Women’s FA Cup final is being played.  It is Arsenal v Everton.  (It is also on BBC2 if you can’t make it).

The game comes at a tough time for Arsenal – bottom of the Super League with one point out of four games.  Fortunately, perhaps, Everton are only one place above us.

It is conventional to think that women’s football is a modern concept, particularly associated with the USA, Germany and Scandinavia where it flourishes, but in reality it goes back to the 19th century in England.

The game existed before the first world war, but it flourished big time during and after the war and in the immediate post-war era women’s football was getting crowds as big as crowds for the men’s game.   The largest crowd was reported to be 53,000 on Boxing Day 1920.

So what happened?

Basically in 1921, the male dominated Football Association, to their eternal shame, sought to ban women’s football.  They issued an edict saying that “…the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”

What they really meant was that the game existed outside the control of the FA, they had already lost control of much of the professional men’s game to the Football League, and they didn’t want to lose any more power.

The League clubs saw the game as a potential rival to men’s football, and so the two bodies formed an unholy alliance, the main thrust of which was to introduce a new rule that said that because of the moral dangers of women playing football, league clubs must not allow their grounds to be used for women’s matches.

That ban, utterly disgracefully, stayed in place until the 1960s – by which time of course the damage was done.  Women’s football had surged ahead in northern Europe, while in England it was still being played in parks.

But there will be a crowd of I guess around 15000 or 20000 today – back to the levels of a few years ago (although last season’s final only got 5000 in attendance).  And that brings us back to the issue of Arsenal and Everton.  When we played the 2010 cup final against the same opposition, the clubs were the top two, and had been for five consecutive years.   Last season we were in the semi-final of the Champions League and won the League Cup – but the slippage in the league had started.

And now…  well now Manchester City have come along and using the same source of money as they do for everything else, they’ve bought a team.  This has exacerbated the already existing problem of defections to the US – Kim Little being one of the most prominent departures, going to Seattle Reign FC.

Arsenal have won seven of the last ten FA Cup finals, but despite that half the Arsenal side we will see today are playing in their first final as the money has poached the best players.

So things are certainly not right.  Shelley Kerr, the manager, handed in her resignation last week and the Final will be her last game.

But even so this is not a total meltdown.  Arsenal have half a dozen England players, and our cup form has been better than the league form.  Indeed to get to the final Arsenal beat Birmingham City (away) 2-1 in the quarter finals, and Chelsea away 5-3  in the semi-final.  So it can be done, and a turn around can happen.

Let’s hope so.

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41 Replies to “We’re of to the Cup Final for the second time this year”

  1. Yes, best of luck to the women. I saw Rachel Yankey on the news this morning and she’s really up for it. The last time we did this particular double was in 2005 when the games were a week apart and the girls were able to share the victory bus tour. This time if they win I don’t think they’ll get a parade.

  2. What a surprise!!! PGMOL have control of this match. Needs a review by Walter. How many penalties are we going to be denied in this match?

  3. From the BBC

    > 15 mins GOAL Arsenal 1-0 Everton – Kelly Smith

    > And Arsenal skipper Kelly Smith makes Everton pay. The England international pings the 20-yard free-kick into the top left corner with superb accuracy – Rachel Brown-Finnis didn’t have a prayer of saving that one. Advantage Arsenal.

    > 14 mins

    > Arsenal are beginning to use their vast experience to take control, and have another opportunity on the edge of the Everton area. Toffees left-back Alex Greenwood is left for dead by the pace of Danielle Carter and can only hack her down with an unnecessary challenge. Kelly Smith stands over the ball…

  4. Well done ladies, thoroughly deserved win and a magnificent double cup win for Arsenal. Agree that Walter needs to do a review, typical PGMOL.

  5. Congratulations to the Arsenal Ladies! 2 very good goals to win the FA Cup 2-0.

  6. Andrew.

    The BBC feed had a congratulations note from an Andrew after the game. Was that you?

    I looked at the recent news headlines at Google News about the Ladies win. With the exception of an Everton site, they were uniformly nice headlines.

  7. Germany – Cameroon

    > German XI: Weidenfeller – Boateng, Mertesacker, Hummels, Durm – Khedira, Kroos – Müller, Özil, Reus – Götze

    No idea on subs yet.

  8. There was a moment just before our second goal when Aitkinson allowed us good advantage from which we scored. If that had not gone in I can’t imagine the outcry about us being denied a nailed on penalty. I think we hit the woodwork four times and the Everton keeper made a couple of goal stopping saves.

  9. Sounds like the Everton defense struggled against the pacy Carter and Yankey.

  10. I just started watching this final. My heart sank when I saw Atkinson was reffing. I couldn’t help thinking that Everton ladies would be uber-fouly – just like the men’s team.

    I decided to fast forward, watching at x4. In that way I can’t see any shenanigans, but when I occasionally reverted to normal speed, I noticed the commentary was a bit like the crap talked about the men’s game, particularly wrt fouls (or not).

    Prior to half time I gave up watching and came on here to see what’d happened.

    Congratulations Arsenal ladies. Very well done, and sorry that I can’t bring myself to look at the game in real time, yet.

    Can anyone here please tell me what happened to the ladies this season. There was summat about league points being deducted for fielding an in eligible player? I know I’m a suspicious charachter, but I can’t help feeling that the folk who run the league were enacting the same kind of crap they dish out to our men’s team.

    Let me know, please. I accept I could be completely wrong (but we’re talking Arsenal here).

  11. Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for that link. Brilliant.

    Well done ladies. Never in doubt from what I saw.

  12. Ok, I’ve just seen the 2nd goal and I’ve read the comments above mine. I’ve also watched the link you provided, Mandy. Thanks for that.
    Watching that video, my eyes got very wet after the final whistle, when Poldi jumped into Arsène, followed by others. Beautiful.

  13. Vermaelen is playing for Belgium (against Sweden), also playing in the very early minutes.

    I can’t see that the French lineup has been announced yet against Paraguay, to start in 20 or so minutes.

  14. The 3 points deduction was last year. This season we’re bottom with just one point from 4 games. Atkinson did a fair job, he even allowed advantage at our second goal, but there’s rarely anything controversial at women’s matches as they’re clean and nobody dives.
    With respect, the reason the commentary is similar to the men’s is because it’s the same game, but a bit slower. I do agree though that the commentary was crap. The guy sounded very 1960’s in his description of play.

  15. The French starting X1 are:
    > 7.47pm France starting XI: Lloris; Koscielny, Evra, Sakho, Sagna, Valbuena, Pogba, Matuidi, Cabaye, Remy, Giroud

    Unrelated, Robson still generating words for TalkShite.

  16. @Mandy Dodd
    Fantastic link Mandy, it brought a lump to my throat seeing that fantastic world wide support.
    The AAA element and anyone who has ever booed the team or manager should hang their heads in shame and be made to watch this video clip to learn what real support is all about.

  17. Rantetta
    Sorry, my previous post was for your attention. One thing I did notice and what nobody else picked up was the dreadful condition of the pitch. It was never fit for a league match let alone a cup final. Black mark MK Dons ground staff!

  18. @Gord
    Re Robson, I caught some of his drivel as well. What an arsehole he is.

  19. Yes, that link is something special, not sure where it originates from but good on 7amkickoff for posting it. That really was and always will be a very special day and that film certainly captured it.
    Well done the gals!

  20. Mandy
    Yes, 7am great. I’ve been on that blog for a couple of years. Much better class of commenter. (you & I excepted)

  21. Midway through second half in the “friendlies”. Germany down 0-1. Kallstrom subbed off for Sweden. Germany equalizes from Mueller, Podolski replaces Ozil. Giroud getting chances and providing good work for France at half time.

  22. I’ve seen that video a few times now and it still brings a big lump to my throat.
    This is where Arsenal unites the world. I have seen videos with people from all colours, religions, rich, poor, young, old…. all under the guidance of a man who is admired all over the world apart from a few ********** who claim to support our team.

  23. I watched the Germany game (missed some in the middle) and watched the France game once that one ended. One, the French (and francophones) are so lucky to have Arsene Wenger as a commentator. I wish I spoke French. Who wouldn’t rather hear Wenger’s opinion on the game than Michael Owen’s?

    Secondly, Giroud. If some of the ones who abuse him, saw him playing for Chelsea (who also were in for him apparently) or Liverpool, they would abuse Wenger for missing a trick and not buying him for the 13m that he was available for. He’s not a Suarez type striker, but he is so good.

  24. Very nice clip of TRUE Arsenal supporters enjoying their day with like minded friends and strangers . Fantastic guys !
    Congrats to the ladies team too – well done !

  25. Congrats to the ladies.
    Mandy, thanks for the video link.
    Walter, why weren’t you there? UA’s penny pinching?

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