Today should have been FA Cup Final day but sadly this date may not even register with many. I find it amusing how we morph into our parents and as we get older, we talk more like them coming out with sayings like “It was better back in my day”. When it comes to FA Cup Final day, that saying was definitely true.
It never mattered which teams were in the final the whole country would be glued to their televisions from morning until the coverage finally finished about an hour after the final whistle. Yes you heard that right, a full days coverage from morning until tea time and broadcast on both BBC & ITV simultaneously. We were also treated to each clubs cup final song that usually ended up in the charts and on Top Of The Pops!
My recollections of the 1980`s as a kid growing up are of only having the choice of 4 televisions channels not 400 like today and let’s face it, no one really watched Channel 4 for years at first, maybe to watch Brookside (google it youth). So 2 out of the main 3 television channels broadcasted the cup final.
Personally we preferred watching the BBC`s coverage, it was just more professional, interesting and no adverts to interrupt your viewing. Then you had the likes of Des Lynam, Barry Davies, John Motson and Bob Wilson compared to ITV who had Elton Welsby or Cilla Black popping up. Although fair play to ITV for having Brian Moore who was a class act on the microphone.
Both channels would have cameras and presenters on the trains talking to supporters on the way down to London, at the teams hotels and on the teams buses during the slow drive through the crowds to Wembley. Every angle was covered in the match day build up and it kept us glued to the tv all day.
Nowadays the kick off is moved back later to maximise revenue, the cup is sponsored and the coverage is nothing like as thorough and entertaining as back in the day. I am more inclined to give the final a miss these days as the coverage is dull and doesn’t draw you in as a viewer like it used to.
So as today passes by, my thoughts turn not to who would have been contesting this year’s final but more towards those finals like the Spurs – Coventry or Wimbledon – Liverpool finals that were classics we love to see again and again.