By Walter Broeckx
For most of us living outside England the first time we saw English football was in the FA cup final at Wembley.
In my country we had the luck to having the leading football commentator not just being an excellent footballer in his days but also he loved England and English football. And so our national TV broadcaster always had the FA cup final live on TV. So I saw us win the FA cup in 1971 when Charlie George won it in extra time. Completing the double one year after beating Anderlecht in the European Fairs cup final. Ending a period of almost 17 years winning nothing at all. I wonder how the aaa would have survived that period,
Luckily even the thought of being able to speak with fellow supporters over the world on something like a computer was unthinkable at the time. The moaning levels would have brought the whole internet down I think.
Arsenal survived the slaughtering that happened in this weekends FA cup fixtures. As I had to do a few jobs last Saturday I only found myself in front of my TV when the match Manchester City – Middlesbrough was already under way. It looked to be a match that would only know one winner. One of those matches where you know that Man City will score and then the match will be over. I was a bit interested as Middlesbrough had a Belgian player in their line up (Vossen) that I rather liked seeing in Belgium. Decent level but not PL level if you ask my personal opinion.
So while the first half went on I was watching with one eye to my TV and with the other eye I was checking a few things on my computer and thinking that I could see how other teams were doing. Chelsea – Bradford 2-0 it said. Spuds – Leicester 1-0 it said. Oh look Southampton conceding a few goals in their match against Crystal Palace and Sanogo scoring one. So it looked to be a fairly dull FA cup day at first.
As I got a notification from twitter that someone had mentioned me I opened my twitter account and as I follow mostly Gooners I can tell by the number of tweets that something is happening. But Bradford scoring a goal at Chelsea didn’t make a lot of difference to most Gooners. Nice for them but well you know, how could they even pose a threat to super tactician and best manager in the whole world according to himself and the aaa, Mourinho.
The first signs of real excitement was about the match I was following myself. Middlesbrough scored and that got us rather excited on twitter didn’t it? Middlesbrough could and should have finished City off after that but wasted their chances or were unlucky when a ball hit the inside of the post. And then suddenly all hell broke lose on twitter in some 20 minutes time.
Someone tweeted Bradford has equalised at Chelsea. Now that looked rather crass and I thought it was a joke. So opening up a help line to check the scores and my oh my they did. The Gooner world rather enjoyed that equaliser I must say. Lots of LOL doing their rounds.
But what followed was even more amazing. As suddenly someone tweeted that Bradford had gone in front at Chelsea. My twitter time line exploding at that moment. And to add to the fun I suddenly saw a tweet from Lord Sugar. Don’t ask me why but I do follow him. Ok, if you really want to know he can say some interesting things from time to time. And he can see the greatness of Wenger and doesn’t hide his admiration for Wenger. But Lord Sugar tweeted that Leicester had equalised. I first thought it was a variation of the ‘Newcastle has equalised against Arsenal’ tweet that caused a lot of fun a few seasons ago. But again I checked and hell no, it was real. Yeah, a replay for the spuds would do me nicely was my first thought.
What then followed was delirium for Arsenal supporters. My twitter feed exploded with hundreds of tweets per minute it seemed. 8 minutes of stoppage time at Chelsea it said. Surely they would claw themselves back in to it in that extra time was what I expected them to do. After all mastermind Mourinho couldn’t lose at home to a 2nd division team. Ref Marriner who couldn’t tell Gibbs from Oxlade-Chamberlain sure gave them lots of time to come back.
Middlesbrough scoring a second goal to finish City was fun but then again Lord Sugar broke the amazing news that Leicester had taken the lead at that former Middlesex club and I almost fell on the floor from laughing. I actually did when my twitter exploded once again to inform me that Bradford had scored a 4th goal in the extra time. I didn’t know where to look first as the Manchester City match was amazing to see and in the mean time I sure was having a lot of fun on my computer seeing all those results of the big teams going out being beaten by the smaller clubs. With all respect to Leicester, Bradford and Middlesbrough of course.
When I saw all the full time results it had been an amazing two hours of FA cup football. Just as we know it can be where the underdogs rise above themselves to do some giant killing. Luckily our boys didn’t fancy such a giant killing themselves and produced a performance that should have killed Brighton off earlier but again some strange decisions from the ref made it more difficult than it should have been.
So Arsenal are still in the hat for the next round and some other super teams not. It only shows that in a one off match anything can happen. And that is the beauty of football. That is why it attracts so many people.
This weekend was one of the most memorable FA cup weekends of all times it seems. Lets hope for a nice draw for the next round. I have a feeling it might be Middlesbrough who we will face next. Just a feeling. But whoever it is, there are no easy matches. Let this be the big lesson some learned this weekend.
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate