Glory Days

When I was a kid the FA Cup held romance.  I recall going to Yeovil in ’71 to see Big Raddy play on their once famous sloping pitch.  We went on to Wembley that year to see Charlie George score his wonderful goal and win the Double.  In those days one had to collect all the stamps in the matchday programmes to obtain a ticket, and if you were missing one – disaster ! But I had been to all the home games that season and bought all the programmes,  I was a winner and so was Frank Mclintock.

In later years, I watched us almost throw the Cup away after being 2 up with 10 minutes to play in Liam’s final game for us.  Then came the GG years and the seemingly annual trips to Wembley, followed by our regular trips to Cardiff, when winning the FA Cup seemed our right ( apart from being robbed by the referee and Owen in 2001).  My favourite Cup Final was Freddie’s.  We stayed in a brilliant hotel, Cardiff was bedecked with Gooners wearing Freddie wigs or red sprayed hair and we were playing the Chavs, who are supported by many of my close friends.  Of course, he had to score, and what a goal it was.

I didn’t attend the last time we won the Cup, with Paddy’s final kick in an Arsenal shirt, and watching the game on television it seemed the correct decision.

The FA Cup is THE Cup,  Arsene is right to say that the Carling Cup holds little value, when we talk of the “Cup”, we all know which cup it is. Which brings me to the point of the post….. Why do I not care a jot that we are not playing today? What happened to trivialize the FA Cup for me?  Sure, I would be delighted if we got to Wembley, and won the FAC again, but quite honestly I believe AW was right to play an understrength team at Stoke.  I prefer that we have a day off prior to the important game at Porto.  In my opinion, Wenger would have put out a weakened team should we have beaten Stoke, and I would have agreed.

Could it be that winning the Double twice has reduced the Cup’s value?  Or that we became too accustomed to getting to the Final, or is it the inexorable rise of the Champions League?  Probably the latter.  There is far more excitement and sense of achievement in reaching the last 8 in Europe than beating Wigan at home to get to the FAC semi’s.  A memory has just floated in…. I was at Old Trafford watching to see us beat Spurs in the semi’s – it was Sol’s last game for Spurs prior to seeing the light and leaving the Forces of Darkness.  I recall a surging run from an imperious Vieira before Pires came onto a low cross to guarantee a celebratory drive home.  But will I think of this on a cold night or will it be Sol scoring in Paris ?  You know the answer ….. both !

My conclusion is that our European adventures have dimmed the light of the FA Cup to such an extent that it is an afterthought.  I realise that many Gooners will disagree with me, they retain the romantic attachment, and say it is Silverware (which is unquestionably true).  But I have fallen out of love with it.  Gone is the exclusivity of a game live on TV, gone is the excitement of the all day build up,  the coach arriving at Wembley,  the Abide with Me, the man dressed in the England suit and Mottie’s sheepskin jacket.

But I will never forget that sunny day in ’71 when Frank lifted the Cup.  As the Boss says…. Glory Days

37 Responses to Glory Days

  1. Morning Raddy and all

    Glory Days indeed – next year when we’re bound to be winning everything we won’t have to reminisce will we.

    Interesting how theres a shift towards the Champs Lge even though I’ve loved the FA Cup since I was about 8.

    All Arsenal goals in cup finals are special 🙂

  2. irishgunner says:

    Nice post Raddy.

    The FA Cup still is important but now the Champions League is THE ONE, we need that to be a proper European Powerhouse and that seems and feels more important than a domestic cup the big clubs don’t value anymore – not as much as Europe anyway.

  3. adam says:

    I was at that Yeovil match too. On the previous Saturday I drove down from London with a friend in a mini without a radio fitted (seems strange now) only to discover that the match was postponed due to bad weather. I’d like to say “Happy Days” but it wasn’t really. The drive home was long.

  4. London says:

    Morning BR

    I got goose bumps reading that, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant and what’s more I completely agree. I am a CL man now and believe that our aim should be to recreate the same kind of emotional memories from winning the CL as we already have from winning the FA Cup.

  5. London says:

    Hi Adam

    Were you lucky enough to go to Wembley the same season? Or maybe White Hart Lane?

  6. London says:

    Or if you were really lucky both?

  7. Rasputin says:

    Morning all,

    Good post Raddy. The ‘devil’s advocate’ response to your piece would be “well I’d rather win the FA Cup than F’all cups”.

    There is no doubt that the pressure on Arsene will increase to warp factor 10 if we end up with nothing to show at the end of this season….. and many will say well at least we might have won the FA Cup if we’d put out a full strength side against Stke.

    I agree that Arsene did the right thing in selecting an understrength side – he had no choice, his hands were tied. The problem is that he supplied the rope when he chose not to strengthen the squad in the summer and January window.

  8. kelsey says:

    Morning everyone.

    Now this is my era.London I was at WHL that famous night when there were more people outside the ground than in it.Do you remember Alan Gilzean,he always had a go at gentle Bob Wilson.I think it was about the 88th.minute when Ray Kennedy scored, and then on to Wembley.What a week that was.Thanks Raddy for the memories.

    Now I have to disagree with you about the FA Cup.A club like Arsenal, one of the richest in the world should be competing for all 4 trophies or at least not make it so obvious that only the PL and CL are worth winning.I know that elusive CL still awaits,and I am sure Wenger would give anything for us to achieve it.However nearly every time we progress we lose to other PL sides except the year we got to Paris we avoided them.(a game I still feel we could have won)

    Going slightly off track,we all know that we can’t compete with United,City and Chelsea in the transfer market, but we have a number of squad players who IMO earn far too much,and that in itself doesn’t help our spending clout,as we are stretched with wages to some players like Rosicky and RVP who have had more time on the treatment table than playing time.
    Wenger needs to be more ruthless.How much have we payed to long term injured players over the last few years.Anyway good luck to Bolton 😉

  9. Rasputin says:

    Morning London, kelsey 😉

    Welcome to the site Adam

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you all. ( I would do one of those embarrassed smileys but they are beyond my computer skills)

    Superb picture editing !!

    Adam. Welcome. We got to Exeter and heard of the postponement at a filling station ! The game holds special memories for me. I went with a group of friends in a transit van. We got attacked by local hoodlums after the game and ended up sheltering in a very fancy hotel to await a police escort back to the van.Up to that point I thought hooliganism was a big city phenomena !

  11. Big Raddy says:

    Of course I would rather we won the FAC than nothing, and I agree we should have a squad capable of competing on all fronts.

    But, for the moment we haven’t. The way our squad is maturing, we will probably have a CC team of kids, an FAC team of good players but not first teamers (like Denilson/JD etc) and a first team.

    Kelsey. I went to the Spurs game as well but was locked out and listened to it on the radio outside the ground. Strange my memories of that era are in Black & White !

  12. Rasputin says:

    It’s true Raddy, I just thought I’d make the point before someone else jumped in with both feet … but maybe I’ve stifled debate 😳

  13. irishgunner says:

    Fiddlesticks.

    Won’t get to watch the CL game either 😦 I’ve no internet here during the day so can’t stream it, no pubs worth talking about here, certainly none that’ll show the game or be open early, they are showing the Champions League on SBS here which I have woohoo but of course not the Arsenal game 😥

  14. London says:

    P&R

    If you need a post for tomorrow, I have something, it’s a continuation of today’s theme. It’s no biggy so if anyone else has written something I will gladly, and I emphasise the word gladly, stand back.

  15. Rasputin says:

    Hi Irish,

    Will you be able to visit this site tomorrow?

  16. Big Raddy says:

    I hope there is coverage over here. I guess it depends upon whether NikB is starting

  17. Rasputin says:

    Quincy just scored a cracker for Pompey.

  18. Hi London – Chary has written a post for us – but it doesn’t have to go up tomorrow if yours carries on the theme from today. I can keep Chary’s for another time.

    Thankyou for thinking of one for tomorrow, please go ahead and write it 🙂

  19. London says:

    Peaches

    Let me get back to you a bit later.

  20. Tommo says:

    I want nothing more than a CL gold star above our badge. That is all I want

  21. Rasputin says:

    Tommo,

    The Wenger era will only be complete when we’ve won the CL.

  22. Aha there you are rasputin 😉

  23. Rasputin says:

    In and out peaches, am I needed?

    The Pompey v Saints game was highly entertaining. I hate to say it but Jamie O’Hara was excellent. We let him go, I believe he can play for Ireland or England, if he continues to improve he will be an international.

  24. London says:

    Hello again P&R

    Yeah, what I’ve got is topical so I will put it up tomorrow, unless I hear otherwise.

  25. Rasputin says:

    Great stuff London,

    If I know the subject matter, I can insert an appropriate pic if you’d like?

  26. Thanks London – looking forward to it 🙂

    Citeh drew ha ha ha

  27. London says:

    Rasp, it’s not an obvious one really unless you can find a picture of Omar Sharif wearing a red and white scarf. I’m laughing my head off here.

    See y’all tomorrow.

  28. Rasputin says:

    Actually London, Omar Sharif with a red and white scarf is possible ….. I’d just have to know tonight! Have fun, I’ll look forward to reading it tomorrow 😉

  29. London says:

    I’ll put the post in drafts, I may fine tune it in the morning so don’t publish it and be my guest in trying to find a picture just so long as your not offended if I chose not to use it.

  30. Rasputin says:

    No probs, I may put one in when your post is in drafts – all you need to do is click on it and push delete to take it out – I won’t be offended 😛

  31. Rasputin says:

    The pic is in London … your choice …

  32. London says:

    Yeah, I like it, nice one Rasp.

    I just noticed the Valentines card for Irish that really made me laugh.

    Slow day today, shame, BR’s fine post deserved more.

  33. Rasputin says:

    Yes it did, you’re right. A short punchy headline that can be misinterpreted by those who are quick to jump to conclusions will always get a lot of hits – but that’s not really our style, although I expect yours will attract some interesting responses ….well done 😆

  34. Big Raddy says:

    BR sends Valentine wishes to all the Ladies out there 😉

  35. London says:

    New Post

  36. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

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