The FA Cup Final has been bothering me all week. With so much of the focus from the past two weeks centering around the qualification for the Champions League Final and one of the best endings to a Premier League season ever, it’s been hard to focus on Saturday’s match between Portsmouth and Cardiff City.
When you think about it, it’s the dream final that all of us have been wanting. If it was Chelsea against Man United in the final, everyone would be complaining about how predictable the FA Cup was. But yet, even with the rarity of Pompey playing Cardiff at Wembley, I can’t get excited about it.
Why I can’t muster up much enthusiasm for one of the oldest cup tournaments in the world has been bugging me. The ridiculous charge of $25 to watch it live on pay-per-view (10am ET) isn’t a barrier. Sadly, even if the match was shown for free, I wouldn’t rush to the television set in great anticipation. Sure, I’d watch it but not as intently as a Champions League Final.
I finally figured out a few reasons why I’m not so bothered about the final this year:
- There’s little to no build up. As reader AtlantaPompey mentioned, it seems that podcasts and sites are ignoring the final. What would help get me in the mood is if Fox showed a documentary about the history of the FA Cup on its network, or some of the best FA Cup Finals in history. I’m missing the hype and feeling no buzz.
- There are too many distractions. The Champions League Final is getting more attention this year than in previous years because two Premier League clubs are in the final. If the UEFA final was between Lyon and Roma, most of the anglophile bloggers, podcasters and journalists would find a new topic to discuss. Plus on top of all of this, the hype is already beginning for Euro 2008.
- It’s hard to get excited about Pompey and Cardiff. No offense to Portsmouth fans, but the team in recent weeks has been practically invisible. The entertainment value from the Fratton Park side has disappeared so there’s little momentum going into the match for neutral followers. Plus there’s not much to hate about Portsmouth, if anything at all, so it’s not like we would love to see them lose either.
- Portsmouth against Cardiff is not David versus Goliath. If Cardiff shocks Portsmouth on Saturday and becomes only the second time a Welsh team has won the FA Cup, it’ll be a surprise to many fans but it won’t send shockwaves around the world. Now, if Cardiff City was playing Manchester United this Saturday, I honestly feel that more neutral fans would be interested in watching the match. That would be a true David versus Goliath spectacle.
Sensing that there were other soccer fans out there that may have shared a similar feeling to me, I posted a poll yesterday and asked how readers would be experiencing the FA Cup. The results, as of press time, showed that the majority of people weren’t planning on watching the match live, but would watch the highlights on TV later. The second most common answer was that soccer fans would be passing on the FA Cup Final completely this year and presumably have no plans to watch it on replay or the highlights.