NFL

Can the FA Cup Final be England’s ‘Super Bowl’?

A little over a week ago, the sports world basked in the occasion of the 48th annual Super Bowl.  The Seattle Seahawks embarrassed the Denver Broncos, dispatching them 43-8. Most of us on this side of the pond will have already forgotten that scoreline, but the spectacle itself will remain a little fresher in our minds.

In truth, the Super Bowl is more than just an American football match. It’s an occasion. The NFL have managed to fuse sports and culture perfectly to make it an event that the whole country is enveloped in regardless of their individual interest in sports.  People gather, TV stations change their schedule and the whole nation, for a day or two, is gripped by one singular sporting event. For instance, the Super Bowl has a grand history of spectacular half-time shows including performances from Beyonce, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and more. Coupled with its corporate tradition of debuting spectacular adverts during the many intervals from play, there is genuinely plenty on offer to entertain all sorts of people.

Prominent… The NFL’s showcase game regularly draws in over 100 million US viewers. [Photo: Wikipedia]

The FA Cup final is the obvious contender to compare with the Super Bowl for English sport. A famous tournament of the nation’s favourite sport, settled by one single game that airs on terrestrial television. In fact, the comparisons end there. Now, I’m not saying that I want the FA to fervently promote the final by shoving Jessie J on the pitch at half-time, in a feckless attempt to maintain any interest in the event. But I do think Britain’s footballing body could do more to make the FA Cup final a bigger occasion on a national scale. There’s no reason why the FA Cup final can’t be an experience that grips the entirety of England in the days leading up to the event. There’s certainly no need for us to try and emulate the Super Bowl to too great an extent. The cacophonous pageantry of American Football and the orgulousness required to call the winners of a domestic trophy ‘world champions’ is not found on these shores but their blue print for sporting spectacles is certainly to be admired.

Super Bowl XLVIII brough in 111.5 million viewers for Fox last Sunday night meaning around 35% of the USA was tuning in, making it the most watched television broadcast in the nation’s history. In stark contrast, the most recent FA Cup final which saw Wigan Athletic upset the odds to beat Manchester City was viewed by 4.10 million on ITV (8% of England), being outperformed that week by an episode of Off Their Rockers and Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs. It’s not like a boost in attention for the FA Cup final wouldn’t favour TV channels, if American trends are anything to go by. Fox’s comedy New Girl received 26 million viewers, an 867% increase in viewership on it’s season average.

Overlooked: FA Cup Finals are convincingly outperformed by entertainment variety shows. [Photo: Wikipedia]

Unfortunately, the FA Cup is a distant after thought behind the much preferred league campaigns, which I can certainly appreciate. England has two cup competitions. The Football League Cup has long been disregarded by the ‘bigger clubs’ unless they reach the latter stages; only then do they usually field their strongest sides. Even Championship clubs see that tournament as a chance for squad rotation. In recent years, the FA Cup has been heading in the same direction with many clubs simply not trying to compete, illustrated by falling attendances and of course ‘weakened’ squads.

It’s not like England wouldn’t embrace a grander spectacle, we see how much football fever takes hold of the nation every time the European Championships and World Cup roll around. And, it’s certainly not beyond us to forge such a special sporting event, given the overwhelming success of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. In theory, everything is in place for the FA Cup final to be a truly global sporting event. We really ought to be giving English football’s grandest competition a less bathetic climax, otherwise what is the point? But, until the FA and indeed the football clubs themselves start to take the world’s oldest football tournament seriously; it’s likely to remain a distant dream.

(Thank you to Kyle Andrews for helping with this article. Read his stuff; chrispowellsflatcap.wordpress.com)

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Room 101…Two

I realised since my last Room 101 blog which is now a year or so ago that there are plenty more other things on this planet that I don’t like and wish to eradicate.

Mary Poppins

Pompous… Mary Poppins is a cow.

I know she’s meant to be lovable and I know she was played by a true screen legend in Julie Andrews but my God, how arrogant is that woman? She comes floating in with her morbidly black umbrella and decides she’s the fucking queen? I mean her only solution to anything is to pump children full of sugar and she still has the audacity to claim she’s ‘practically perfect in every way’. Urgh, bitch.

American Sports

Nonsensical… Logically, this game should be called football, right?

Americans are great. I mean that. I really do… for the most part. They’re a proud nation with much to be proud of. But at times it comes across as undeservedly arrogant, especially when it comes to their sports. Football (not soccer) is the most popular sport in the world but in the States, baseball and hand-egg are the big games. Now, if the ludicrous rules and thoroughly uninteresting game-play of both isn’t enough to make you dislike the US’ sports, then their delusion over how important and popular they are should be. How can they call baseball’s top competition, the WORLD series when only one country is allowed to take part? They even label the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as the ‘biggest in sport’. I’m pretty sure River Plater and Boca Juniors would tell our friends across the pond something quite different.

Gary Barlow

Dull…. Gary Barlow is…………………………………………………………….. Zzzzzzzz

Given how boring this man is, writing about him at 12:21am is dangerous to say the least. I actually can’t say much more than that. He’s dull and he’s not even redeemed by his songwriting, which he seems to be lauded over. He was once good but his latest stuff including ‘Shame’ and ‘Sing’ are two of the cheesiest songs in existence. He falls in to the ballad clichés very often. I find it hard to believe that a person so fucking one-dimensional can be so famous and popular.

Chavs

Anti-social… Some people collect stamps, Chavs collect ASBOs

I’m not going to lie; I can be a snob. I really don’t like chavs. I mean, I’m not going to go as far as to judge people based on what they wear but I mean I don’t like the sort that hangs around town centres in groups, drinking Strongbow, wearing tracksuits and heckling old ladies with obscure slang. You know the sort of ignorant souls that go on Jeremy Kyle, get pregnant at 7 years of age, claim benefits and spend the rest of their lives sitting on the sofa, munching on a 24 pack of Hula Hoops with their one remaining tooth. In other words, these people are scummy and grimy and yuck.

The London Underground

Scary… I’d rather walk…

This place is a dark, dank, sweaty death tramp! It’s so awful, it’s pitch black, noisy and screechy. You hear stories about ghosts being on the tube, you go under a fucking river and people regularly try to kill themselves. I think I would be absolutely chuffed if my oyster card got revoked.

Thunderstorms

Scary… FUCK YOU THUNDER! YOU CAN SUCK MY DICK

I hate thunder and lightning. It scares me shitless, I literally hide behind objects during thunderstorms and will not move until they’re over. Why? Because about a year ago, lightning struck the window of the room I was in, whilst I was peeing and it was without doubt the scariest moment of my life. Honestly, just fuck off ligntning, you hot, electric cunt.

“You was” / “I seen”

Strict… Say it right or don’t say anything.

How do people get this wrong? It’s the most fucking irritating grammatical error around, just pipping the ‘definitely/defiantly’ debacle to the top spot. I associate this mistake with idiocy so if you get this wrong regularly then I probably won’t like you.

The Big Bang Theory

Over-rated… An average programme for average people.

This programme is the 2nd most over-rated thing in existence. It is popular on both sides of the Atlantic and I just don’t know why, it’s Dexter’s Laboratory except not animated. There is only one notable character with the rest rendered practically useless serving only conform to social and racial stereotypes. Sheldon’s only popular for being able to complicate simple dialogue, hardly the feat of good comedic writing. Is it really that easy to please the public? Well actually, yes, it really is. That being said, I’m sure the producers of TBBT are laughing all the way to the bank. I mean, it really is fucking depressing when ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is searched on Google, that the show comes up before the actual theory itself. Maybe, Kaley Cuoco is attracting viewership as the show’s piece of eye candy? Personally I preferred her in 8 Simple Rules but when it comes to this show I have only one simple rule; after the theme song (the only good bit), turn this shower of shite off.

Oasis

‘Heroes’… LOLZ, its so funni 2 act lyk a petulant twt all da tym LOLZ ❤

No, I don’t mean the drink. I literally can’t stand this band and unlike many, I rejoiced when they broke up. They are persistently rimmed and labelled as one of ‘the best bands ever’. I can’t take away their commercial and critical success but to me, they’re painfully average. One of the greats? My tits are they! I can recall two memorable songs both of which are so similar they may as well merge in to one 7 minute piece of monotonous drivel. They’ve almost become a cult thing amongst teenage football fans on Twitter too, I doubt you’ll find a more common bio than “*Football club*, Oasis, away days ♥” as if their music is now the official soundtrack. If their overly stated music that is arselicked beyond recognition by the masses isn’t enough to turn you off them, then you only need to be reminded of the members of this band; the Gallaghers. Referring to the easily impressed public I mentioned in the last entrant to Room 101, people seem to love Noel Gallagher because he swears in interviews. Apparently, a 46 year old man still acting like a Year 6 student that needs a smack on the arse is something that the average Briton likes. Both brothers have inevitably bought in to their own misplaced hype, not that you could blame them for that. Noel even had the audacity to claim that ‘music was dead’ citing pop music as responsible. I didn’t hear him saying much back in the pop-dominated noughties when he was still able to sell music himself, did you?

UKIP / The BNP / The EDL

Supremacists… Closet racists the lot

I have no idea why people support these sham-organisations. They’re just xenophobic alliances, disguised under the common protestation that they want to ‘protect Britain’. Let’s face it, the average supporter is a braindead thug with a lower IQ than a Jacob’s cream cracker. Unfortunately, scare tactics work on many in Britain and few of those on the bandwagon seem to realise that nationalism, an ideology all three employ, was the founding principal of Adolf Hitler’s nazi party. Just a heads up, to the media slaves; nationalism and patriotism are very different things.

Lad Culture

#BanterLAD #RESPECT… #StupidCunt #FuckOffYouOdiousPricks

Another thing formed from moronic thinking is lad culture. Who is the fucking ignoramus that decided acting like a prat should be glorified and celebrated? I mean, I honestly think I could get ‘LAD points’ for mugging an old woman in the street. As long as I chose to define it as ‘banter’, another over-used term that muppets seem to crave, like some sort of verbal drug. If I’m being quite frank and I’m not often anything else, if you’re ever called a lad, the chances are you’re just a plain old cunt.