Day: May 17, 2008

The FA Cup Final – Live

Well, I’ve managed to work myself up into a frenzy over this year’s FA Cup final, and we’re doing it live. Live commentary from the comfort of my living room will start at about 2.45 with a raucous rendition of “Abide With Me” – they still do that, right? The teams will line up as follows: Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diarra, Muntari, Diop, Kranjcar, Utaka, Kanu. Cardiff: Enckelman, McNaughton, Loovens, Johnson, Capaldi, Whittingham, Rae, McPhail, Ledley, Parry, Hasselbaink. No place for Robbie Fowler, by the way. He must still be crocked. Portsmouth, meanwhile have chosen to only play one up front (with Jermaine Defoe cup-tied – bet he’s delighted that he played in the Third Round for Spurs, now). I’m supporting Cardiff this afternoon, by the way (though I think that I’ll cope if Portsmouth win). More to follow later. 14.45: Over to John Motson. Wembley is absolutely jumping this afternoon. This is so much better than having two sets of supporters. Lesley Garrett, singing “Abide With Me”, has got extraordinary cleavage. There’ll be a welcome in the valleys, indeed. 14.50: First camera shot of the afternoon of Mr Portsmouth Football Club (see above), too, and he’s blubbing during “Abide With Me”. Bless. 14.53: The teams are out on the pitch, and are being introduced to Bobby Robson (who, I have to say – and mention with...

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Jonathan Pearce, A Billion People & Several Sleepless Nights

Sometimes, comments that I have seen on the television or in the papers take lodge in my head, sit there and fester. About three weeks ago, though, a comment made on the television has started to overtake my waking hours, and it’s a comment that, in an almost abstract fashion, says about as much as you need to know about the modern game in Britain. I have to say that I don’t watch “Match Of The Day” as much as I probably should these days (I normally manage to catch a couple of live matches and “Match Of The Day 2” on Sunday nights) but, three weeks ago, when Chelsea played Manchester United, I thought I should make an exception. I’d been to a match that afternoon and had missed the drama unfolding live, but even I realised that this was quite an important match in terms of deciding the outcome of the Premier League title. So, cue Gary Lineker and his strangely cheap looking shirts, and the “Match Of The Day” studio, which is half-way between the flight deck of the Starship Enterprise and the Duty Free shop on a cross channel ferry. Gary winked conspiratorially and took us over to Jonathan Pearce at Stamford Bridge. What happened next is what has been troubling me for a few weeks now. To put no fine a point on it,...

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