Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Romance Of The FA Cup Is Alive And Well

For years English soccer fans, like their Yankee brethren, have complained about how modern money has ruined the game, consolidating power among the richest clubs, and especially that is had ruined their beloved FA Cup, where all teams from all divisions competed in a year long knockout tournament, and where the famous upsets of lower division clubs over top flight teams had slipped to the brink of extinction.

To wit- no club outside the "Big Four" {Manchester United, Arsenal, Chel$ea, Liverpool} has won the FA Cup since 1995, when Everton beat Manchester United in the Final.

PV4 hoists the FA Cup in 2005 after scoring the
winning penalty with the last kick of his Arsenal career

Well all those people complaining about the romance of the FA Cup being dead better start believing in resurrection, because this year is complete insanity, especially after the events of the weekend.

Barnsley, currently sitting 19th out of 22 teams in the 'Championship' division {the league under the Premiership}, went to Anfield and provided the biggest shock in the FA Cup in many years by beating Liverpool 2-1 in the last round. This time around they hosted Chel$ea in the quarterfinals- surely the dream would die and they would get rolled at home by Billionaire FC.


Barnsley 0-1 Chel$ea.

Forget George Mason- this is more like Hoosiers or even Buster Douglas. What's more, Portsmouth upset Manchester United 1-0 as well, knocking out the 2 remaining members of the so-called "Big 4" before a ball was even kicked in the semifinal round. So whereas a "Big 4" team has won the FA Cup each of the last 11 years, and it's been since 1991 that a "Big 4" team did not make the final, this year no "Big 4" team made it as far as the semifinal. Even more insane is the fact that Cardiff City, currently 14th in the 'Championship' went to Premiership side Middlesbrough and beat them today 2-0, meaning that only 1 Premiership team remains -Portsmouth. They are now odds-on favorite to win the FA Cup. The last time they were odds on favorites to win the FA Cup at the semifinal stage was right around never.

This is great for the game obviously. Hell, the last time Barnsley won the FA Cup was 1912, the week after the SS Titanic sank.

Your remaining four are:

West Brom Albion

I'll be very happy if Barnsley or Cardiff win it {West Brom has played in the Prem a few times in the last several years}, but truth be told I rally want Portsmouth to win it. That's where the ral Kanu is plying his trade these days, along with ex-Arsenal stars Lauren and Sol Campbell, as well as assistant coach and Arsenal legend Tony Adams. Plus I have always loved 'Arry Redknapp and would love for him to win it, and their fans are amazing as well.

So Come on Pompey...


beast in 'bama said...

The best draw possible happened: Barnsley v. Cardiff in one semi and W. Brom v. Pompey in the other. I want to see a Pompey v. Barnsley final, and in that game, I must bow to my master, Barnsley.

At least now they've embarrassed Chel$ea, too. Barnsley is team of destiny #1.

But Pompey is team of destiny #2 after their gift of a win at ManU. It was good to see ManU get robbed for a change - don't get me wrong. But at the end of the day, they were definitely robbed.

Kanu said...

BIB- Yeah, from where you sit, the loss to Barnsley is certainly less embarrassing now that they have beaten Chel$ea, and even more so if they a) make the final or b) win the whole damn thing

I didn't see ManUtd-Pompey, so I can't comment on that- looking forward to catching up tonight on Fox Sports World Report. But you're right, in the grand scheme of things they're due several more shaftings before they can really say shit and have people listen.

Kanu said...


What am I not getting about ManUtd "getting robbed"? CR7 penalty? Yes, that is given a bit more than not, but when you carry around a reputation as a world class shameless diver, and dude challenges with is shoulder down {technically legal}, and you {of course} go to ground like a rag doll, then occasionally you are going to be the boy who cried wolf. Forget ManUtd, CR7 has procured dozens of false penalties and free kicks with his shameful diving in the past, so he didn't get this one, but to me it was closer to a 50/50 call than a 100% penalty- let's say it was 65-35 in favor of a penalty. Oh well, fuck him, the cheating fool {aside- even less respectable to cheat when you are so damn talented to begin with}.

Reminded me of Materrazzi just 2 weeks ago against your Pool- he should not have been sent off for those two yellows, neither one was even arguably a yellow card {both were borderline at best}, but given his well earned reputation he ended up with 2 soft yellows and Torres slyly conned the ref with his semi dive.

Them's the breaks. If there was any other outrageous shit, the extensive highlights I saw didn't reveal it.

I think as usual crybaby Fergie went on a huge rant which the media gave far too much attention to.

Or perhaps I am missing something.

beast in 'bama said...

I'll agree with you - if that contact occurs outside the box, it shouldn't even warrant a free kick. I'll also go along with the reputation argument. However, inside the box, that much contact - even shoulder-to-shoulder - should have drawn a penalty. And I don't believe Ronaldo dove in this case; it looked like he got banged pretty good.

There was one other instance with Nani that could have easily been a penalty. Don't know if they showed that one.

Again, I'm glad they didn't get either call. Far be it from me to defend anything Utd. In fact, the fact that I believe they should have gotten the calls - and didn't - makes it that much better.