Day: January 2, 2007

Cup Fever Revisited

Well, that was a frantic few days – but then the Christmas and New Year period always is, isn’t it? Were it not for the vagaries of the Premiership’s fixture producing computer (which inexplicably decided that Chelsea and Arsenal should get an extra twenty-four hour’s break at the end of an exceptionally busy week), we’d have a few days free to gird our metaphorical loins for the FA Cup Third Round. Just in case you were wondering, Arsenal, predictably enough, stuffed Charlton 4-0, whilst Chelsea continued their one-team mission to hand the league championship to Manchester United by contriving to fail to win away against the recently woeful Aston Villa. But that’s not the reason why we’re not here. It’s the Third Round of The Cup next weekend and, as such, this week will be FA Cup week on this little, incompetently written, appallingly spelt corner of the internet. Over the course of the week, I’m going to be running through every detail I can think of that I think that you lot should know about the FA Cup because, if there was a truism about football that holds up in this cynical, cash-drenched age, it is that the original is the best. The FA Cup is the oldest, purest football competition in the world, and it is still the best. There were a few years when we forgot...

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Crisis? What Crisis?

West Ham United’s season is starting to play like an episode of “Dream Team”. Alan Curbishley took over a fortnight ago, probably thinking that this is something akin to a dream job. Sure, West Ham are in a bit of trouble, but a bit more confidence, a bit more application and they’d be okay, wouldn’t they? It all kicked off excellently, with a 1-0 win over Manchester United, but since then the wheels have well and truly fallen off the wagon again. Being interviewed after their 6-0 defeat at Reading this afternoon, Curbishley gave the impression of being a man with plenty to say, but scarcely able to say it. On “Match Of The Day” this evening, Mark Lawrenson (perhaps surprisingly) summed up the malaise at Upton Park fairly succinctly with the phrase “too many big time Charlies”. Footballers exist in a peculiar parallel universe to the rest of us – a strange world which manages to combine enormous egotism with an emotional fragility that ebbs and flows which each result. West Ham currently have the worst of both worlds. When they were promoted back into the Premiership, there was an enormous hunger within the club to prove the critics, all of whom said that they would go straight back down, wrong. It was enough to propel them into the top half of the table and get them to...

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