A rainy day at Wembley ends with some history. Here are some of the best photos from the day Wigan beat Manchester City for the F.A Cup.
Archive for the ‘FA Cup’ Category
Wow. Gus Johnson angered American viewers with his commentary and Pablo Zabaleta was sent off after receiving his second yellow for a reckless challenge on Callum McManaman but the story is Wigan. For the first time ever a side that won the FA Cup could be relegated. For a few days–perhaps longer–that hypothetical will not matter (and either way they’ll still have Europe). Dave Whelan’s club lifts the trophy at Wembley. That will never not sound strange. Strange but awesome. Sport can be great sometimes.
Gif via the always great @FeintZebra
Posted by Richard Whittall under FA Cup, Media on Apr 17, 2013
The statement. And now the Fisk:
In relation to the information announced for the kick-off time of The FA Cup with Budweiser Final, The FA would like to highlight that 5.15pm is a regular kick-off time in the football calendar.
Well, it depends by what you mean by “regular.” It’s regular in the TV-dependent Premier League, and usually involves one of the bigger names so as to make the audience share worthwhile. Also, love The FA Cup with Budweiser, because it makes one imagine the prize is an FA Cup filled to the brim with Budweiser.
This time was agreed with major stakeholders and broadcasters and has been used across the game for a number of years for televised matches.
Major PR misstep here. What fan is going to read this and say without sarcasm, “Well, so long as it’s been approved by the stakeholders and broadcasters. I’m just a person who pays to go to football matches, and is essentially the heart and soul of everything that football is about.” An idiot.
In terms of transportation, a small percentage of Cup Final fans use the method of train travel.
Additional coach services which National Express are running, including directly from Wembley Stadium, mean there are more options for fans returning north after the game from Wembley on Saturday 11 May.
Now many on Twitter have pointed this out already…”method of train travel”?
“Hey Dave, how are you getting to London this weekend?” “I’m practicing the train travel method. It’s 60% effective, I know, but it’s about getting the timing right.” Also, notice there is no clear alternatives offered under the “more options” sentence. And no source on the “small percentage” of fans using the train.
The kick-off time is unchanged from last year and this allows more football fans around the country to watch The Cup Final in its entirety.
The domestic viewing figures for last year’s FA Cup Final, shown on ITV and ESPN, recorded a combined peak in-home audience of 11.7m people in the UK.
This was the highest peak viewing figure The FA Cup Final has achieved under the current TV deal and a higher audiencee than that of Bayern Munich v Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Final.
Again, no comparative source offered here. How much larger was the audience share compared to the last 3:00 PM kick-off? And is this isolated for other factors? Moreover, fans of the two clubs would watch the final if it was on 7:00 PM. So is it morally imperative neutrals get a chance to watch? Is the FA’s mission to improve ratings philanthropic in nature? No, the figures amount to more money, and the money is going to paying off Wembley debt, with a bit going to football clubs and such.
Also audience is spelled wrong, but only enormous, tedious trolls point out minor spelling mistakes on the Internet.
Posted by Richard Whittall under FA, FA Cup, Football Finance on Apr 17, 2013
A new column dedicated to the money side of the game, Football Finance will appear every Wednesday.
Ian King over at 200% has written a must-read column on the FA’s decision to host the FA Cup final at 5:15 PM GMT. That may not seem like a particularly big deal, but King expertly reveals how the kick-off time affects fans of both sides:
All of this, however, reckons without the awesome powers of the Football Association to do their best to debase the very competition that bears their name. Their decision to play this season’s final at 5.15 in the afternoon would be funny, if it weren’t for the obvious ramifications of such a decision. Supporters from both Wigan and Manchester will have to make a round journey of around four hundred miles to get to this match, and the later the kick-off time is, the more difficult it will obviously be for supporters looking to get home on the evening of the match by train on a weekend that we already know will be disrupted by engineering work. A match kicking off at the time scheduled by the Football Association will finish at around 7.10 in the evening if there is no extra-time, giving Wigan Athletic supporters an hour and twenty minutes to get to London Euston railway station.
This, as King points out, will also prevent fans from enjoying the trophy presentation as they rush to catch the remaining trains home. It also tacitly encourages fans to spend the day drinking in London, a logistical failure in light of the recent violence in the stands during the Wigan/Millwall semifinal.
Most odious of all however are comments from FA General Secretary Alex Horne, quoted in their entirety by King:
We’re now used to consuming our football in those time slots. It really works. Lunchtime kick-offs just haven’t got the same appeal. The 5.15pm kick-off for the final was really successful. We added a couple of million viewers. It’s a sensible compromise. When we designed the new national stadium, we knew we needed to put content in it. That’s what is paying for the stadium. Over time we are paying off the debt we had to incur to build the stadium. Investing in Wembley is investing in football. It’s a positive for all of football.
This is the triumph of private sector influence over community entities in the last three decades—those in governance now rightly or wrongly follow the money wherever it may go. Therefore, the needs of the many (more paying customers, rights holders, TV advertisers) outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Which means local
fans consumers basically exist to provide gate receipts and stadium atmosphere for audiences watching on television.
The idea of football as ‘content’ to be ‘consumed’ was repeated by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore in his happy assessment of NBC’s considerable efforts to splash as much Bee Pee El action all over US screens next season. Scudamore told reporters, “Nowhere do they consume sports like they do here. We are not unhappy with our current broadcast partners (in the United States), but I can see we are on the threshold of taking it to a new level.”
Both Horne and Scudamore have sat through the same powerpoint presentations in which sport is simply an empty cipher (content) to be ingested and defecated by a willing audience (consumption).
Swiss Ramble meanwhile, whose blog has gone silent but who is still a vital presence on Twitter, gave some context to the FA’s desire to ensure its 150 year-old content sponsored by American beer Budweiser is consumed for the highest return possible:
The misguided @fa decision to have 5.15 Cup Final is largely about money – logical result of decision to rebuild Wembley at great expense.
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) April 17, 2013
In 2011 financing Wembley cost the @fa around £41m (£17m loan repayment + £24m interest). Hence the need to “monitise the content”.
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) April 17, 2013
The @fa’s outstanding debt of £289m will only be repaid in 2023, so we can look forward to many years of similar fuckwittery.
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) April 17, 2013
Private loans led by official banking partners, secured on the promise of content to be consumed. This is the trend in football—the fan watching on television is now of paramount importance. Gate sales are a pleasant bauble, merchandise sales an integral component of revenue. But what matters now is television rights. And they dictate a 5:15 PM kick off is better for ratings, better for advertisers, better for future negotiated rights deals. A final that was once symbolized by hundreds of thousands of working class supporters singing Abide With Me in unison is now content ready for consumption.
Posted by Ethan Dean-Richards under FA Cup, Manchester City, Roberto Mancini on Apr 16, 2013
Writing about the forthcoming FA Cup final, the BBC’s chief football correspondent, Phil McNulty—Pip McNulty, to his friends—offered the following gem with regard to Wigan’s chances against Manchester City: “There is a wonderful ‘what side of the bed will they get out of?’ unpredictability about Martinez’s side that gives this final an enticing air of mystery.” With respect to Pip (except by calling him Pip) I am inclined to disagree. That is to say that unless Wigan get out of bed having murdered all of City’s players and coaching staff in the night, then there is not any air of mystery about who will win The FA Cup. City are second in the same league Wigan might get relegated from: City will win The FA Cup. Poor form,
This is all the more reason why it would be ludicrous if The FA Cup helped save the Roberto Mancini’s job, as has been rumoured lately. Beating Wigan should not be a legitimate defense for a manager who has constructed the most expensive squad of players in history and then lost the league title to a never-entirely-convincing Manchester United side and went out in the group stages of the Champions League. Again. Which conjured appalling memories of his time at Inter Milan. There are two big trophies to compete for these days: the Champions League and the Premier League. Neither of these, if you read carefully, is The FA Cup. Mancini should be leaving City regardless of whether he manages to get his fringe and scarf combo up the stairs at Wembley.
It’s not just that winning The FA Cup will have involved beating only three Premier League teams this season—Stoke, Wigan and Chelsea—teams that haven’t done anything impressive this season. For all I know, knocking off Leeds, Watford and Barnsley represents as tough a run of fixtures as exists in football.
No, it’s that the FA Cup has been robbed of any value it may have once enjoyed. Observe a couple of facts about this year’s FA Cup: it began with Budweiser, the official sponsor, filling up Wembley FC with some old pros for the novelty of it, and it will end at 5.15pm on a Saturday, designed not to clash with league fixtures played on the same weekend and to drum up some extra cash from fans travelling on the day. These days, The FA Cup is a kitsch, corporate shell, filled with second elevens and empty clichés. And fat men in suits. No, that wasn’t a dig at you, Rafa.
That shouldn’t save anyone’s job. Mancini was brought in to win the league and the Champions League; this season, he has done neither. At another club which hadn’t outspent its opponents by several hundred million pounds this might be acceptable as a one off, but this is Manchester City, a club which has bought its way to the top of the pile; once you reduce football to being entirely about winning, as their spending does, why should any failure be tolerated?
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Posted by Richard Whittall under David Luiz, FA, FA Cup, Sergio Aguero on Apr 15, 2013
Sergio Aguero to face no FA action for challenge on David Luiz in FA Cup semifinal
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) April 15, 2013
It seems after several years’ worth of experience tracking these interminable disciplinary cases that the FA after match punishment is sort of a lottery. If it really bothers you that Agüero will walk, have fun howling at the moon all month.
We’ve got pictures hot off the press. How drunk can a man from southeast London get? The answer is enough to spar with police officers. Not that shocking. The idea here isn’t to highlight casual violence. Notice the people, there to watch a game, caught up in this mess. This was ridiculous.