Sunday, February 14, 2010

Does anyone outside of England care about the FA Cup?

Or more pressing, does anyone in England care about the FA Cup? There is plenty of handwringing about another round of low attendances and general indifference by the football watching public.

But I suspect these are the same people who are usually whinging about ticket prices, or matches not starting at 3 PM on Saturdays, or players not being loyal to their clubs, or too much money in the game, or foreign owners buying English clubs, or players not speaking English, or whatever else they notice on any given day is not the same as it was in 1953.

It is a shockingly small segment of the football watching population, and the small attendances at FA Cup matches, large TV ratings, and worldwide interest in Premier League clubs generally proves this. Yet this group makes for a good story. Some white haired pensioner moaning, "Me dad used to give me 15 shilling on a Saturday, and that would be plenty for me to go to the match, get a program, and a pork pie at halftime, not to mention the bus there and home again." All while some reporter nods knowingly.

Of course the reporter is quite happy to receive the extra stipend he gets for his Sky Sports appearances, as well as his minute-by-minute reports on a website. And he certainly doesn't complain when he gets to watch Burnley-Wigan on a rainy Tuesday in February from the comfort of his flat in the west end of London, saving himself a 6 hour roundtrip and an evening in the cold and damp.

My point is, it's 2010, a fact that most of us have accepted, including the reporters who choose it as an easy story subject so they don't have to any real work this weekend.

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