Tag: Manchester City

Content To Be Consumed: The FA & Its Cup In The Twenty-First Century

In the year of its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, we might have expected that the Football Association would want to make this year’s FA Cup Final a special one. In some respects, they have got a match that has a number of interesting enough back-stories. One of the competing teams is the former non-league club, the first ever to appear in the finals of both the FA Trophy and the FA Cup, and one which, although it has resided in the Premier League for the last eight years, fills the role of the underdog quite neatly. And then, on the other hand, we have the club fuelled by the petrodollar-rich billionaires, but this club is not yet jaded by the notion of winning trophies year in, year out. Wigan Athletic versus Manchester City is an FA Cup Final with a little bite to it. 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...

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That Was The Weekend That Was: Do You Really Care About This Any More? Really?

In many respects, none of them desirable in any way whatsoever, it was perhaps appropriate that the greatest achievement so far in the history of Wigan Athletic Football Club should have been knocked off the back pages of the weekend’s papers by excesses of a few drunken Millwall supporters harbouring some sort of perceived slight and a Newcastle United supporter attempting to headbutt a police horse. After all, Wigan Athletic is something approaching the Premier League’s forgotten football club, the one whose most notable contribution to the Premier League is to act as cannon fodder for those who believe that the size of a club’s support is something for which those that do attend their matches should be ridiculed. On Saturday evening, however, manager Roberto Martinez and his team achieved something quite remarkable in playing their way to their first FA Cup final. Elected into the Football League in 1977, Wigan Athletic are now the first club to have reached the finals of both the FA Trophy – they were beaten by Scarborough in the 1973 final, a result which feels like light years ago now – and the FA Cup, and all of this has been achieved while putting together a run of form which has given the club a fighting chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League at the end of this season. Against Millwall on...

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Ticket Prices And The Costs Of Having An Opinion

Sixty-two, it would appear, may just be the magic number. It is starting to feel as if battle lines are being drawn in the ongoing debate over the extent to which ticket prices for matches have spiralled out of all control, and if last Sunday’s match between Arsenal and Manchester City was notable for anything in particular, then perhaps two stories to have followed in its aftermath have proved to be particularly instructive in terms of showing us who will be on whose side as the argument rumbles on. First up is the small matter of the deselection of the referee’s assistant who seemed to summarise the frustration that so many supporters are feeling at the moment over not only the issue of ticket prices, but also concerning the attitudes of the people that have been the chief beneficiaries of the money that has poured into the game over the last couple of decades or so: the players themselves. Linesman John Brooks was picked up by the microphones of the television cameras on the pitch at the end of Sunday afternoon’s match telling Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart that, “They’ve paid 62 quid over there – go and see them” after Manchester City’s two-nil win at The Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon. He earned himself considerable praise amongst supporters and some sections of the press for saying this –...

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