The English FA Cup Final at Wembley

Tomorrow is FA Cup final day and this post may look as though it’s going to be about the English FA Cup Final at Wembley. It isn’t, it’s about something much more important than that. But for some while it will probably just look like a post about the English FA Cup Final at Wembley.

So, please bear with me. First of all though…

What is the FA Cup?

footballObviously, huge swathes of you know what the FA Cup is, certainly everyone from England does. But, I’m proud to say, this website is read by people from over 160 countries worldwide, so it’s fair to assume that some of you might not know.

Maybe even some of my Australian readers don’t know what it is, so here’s a brief history of the FA Cup.

A brief history of the FA Cup.

It’s simply the oldest and most exciting football (or soccer, as some of you may know it) knockout competition in the world. 92 clubs battle it out until the last remaining two meet in the finals, played at Wembley Stadium.

Told you it would be brief!

The problem with this year’s final.

Traditionally, the game has always kicked off at three o’clock in the afternoon. Fans from all around the country would turn up by the coach loads at Wembley Stadium, arriving any time after 10 AM to soak in the atmosphere.

They would wander around outside the stadium and inevitably end up in a local pub, before making their way to the ground to be in place well on time for the kick-off.

The game would then be finished by 5 PM, maybe just after 6 o’clock if there was extra time, and then they would all make their way back to their coaches for their long journeys home.

Reminder: this post is not about the English FA Cup final at Wembley, it’s about something else. Details coming soon.

But this year, for no ridiculous reason known to anyone at all, the FA who run the competition have decided that kick-off will be at 5:15 PM. So now the game will finish at about 7:15 PM, and potentially as late as eight o’clock with extra time.

Clearly, some supporters will not get home until the early hours.

Most people suspect this move has been made by the FA to maximise TV revenue money, it’s certainly not been done for the benefit of the fans. Most are in uproar.

And that uproar extends to us football fans here in Brisbane who love going to watch the FA Cup Final in the Pig n Whistle in the city!

I watched the FA Cup home alone the first couple of years I was here, when I was “Bobby no mates”. But since growing friends I have gone to the city and watched the game in the pub.

I’ve written about it before in my post called So, What’s With the Long Trousers?

The atmosphere has always been fantastic, the buzz building slowly as excited football fans drink their way towards kick-off, which happens at midnight (when KO is 3 PM) for us here in Brisbane.

This year though, we’d have to drink beer until 2:15 in the morning and then START watching a game of football which may go on until sunrise!

So we’re not happy here in Australia either! Not even those who live in Perth, which is in a different time zone from us, would be happy about this. Kick-off for them would normally be 10 PM, now they have to wait till quarter past midnight.

This post should be categorised in my entertainment section, but I’ve actually put it in my “Australia’s Bad Things” category. That category is usually reserved for Australia’s scary wildlife, although over time it has extended to include all Australian wildlife, much of which is a joy to live alongside.

The English FA, the body that runs football and as such the people who decided to break with tradition and kick-off this match at 5:15 PM are not wildlife or animals. They are human beings who don’t even live in Australia.

But today I will add them to my list of Australian Bad Things, even though they don’t even live in Australia, for ruining a great night out down at the Pig n Whistle.

What this post is really about.

No, this post isn’t about the English FA Cup final at Wembley, it’s about strong rivalry, alcohol, young people, an important sporting event and mixing them all together in one pub.

This year, in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Liverpool and Manchester United, two giants of English football who are fierce rivals, were drawn together to battle it out for a place in the fifth round. Two teams with a proud history in the competition, with Manchester United having won it a record 11 times and Liverpool an impressive seven times.

These two cities are just 50 kilometres apart, or 30 miles as we Brits prefer to say as we desperately try to cling on to at least one imperial measurement. This geographical closeness of the teams only intensifies their rivalry.

Now, think about this.

Wherever YOU live, imagine two teams who are fierce rivals, and imagine putting supporters from both those teams into a big pub, and imagine having them drink alcohol until very late, and then putting on a live performance of their two teams doing battle.

How would it end up?

This is how it ended up in the Pig n Whistle…

How good is that atmosphere?

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