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Oh Manchester, so much to answer for

FA Cup final day! The highlight of the year! The culmination of the football season! And it’s the first time that it’s being contested by Manchester City and Manchester United! How excited are we all?

This might be the least I’ve ever cared about an FA Cup final. I hope Aslef and Just Stop Oil are the winners. I’m not sure I can even be arsed watching. I mean, obviously I will, it’s tradition. I’ll stand for Abide With Me then go for a piss during GSTK. But God, I wish they could both lose.

Manchester United have arguably done more than anyone to devalue the world’s oldest and most famous football competition, having ‘reluctantly’ withdrawn from the 1999-2000 competition in order to play in the 2000 Fifa World Club Championship in Brazil. The FA and the UK government were keen for United to play in the inaugural competition in order to boost England’s bid to host the 2006 World Cup. You could argue that it was the FA who undermined their own showpiece tournament, something that they’ve continued to do since by pissing about moving the final to 5pm and not having it as the final game of the season. Anyway, the 2006 World Cup went to Germany and United failed to make it out of the group stage in the World Club Championship, finishing 3rd behind Vasco de Gama and Necaxa. No, me neither. They’re from Mexico apparently. Well done to all involved.

Having grown up watching football in the 1990s, my default position always used to be to support whoever Man U were playing, but I absolutely cannot bring myself to do that today. We’ve been talking about which country to emigrate to if Man City win the treble. Somewhere far away where they don’t care about football, and specifically don’t care about the English Premier League. I’ve narrowed it down to the Philippines and Tonga. I’ve got Filipino heritage and they love rugby league in Tonga.

I’ve seen a few Latics fans saying that they’re worried that City winning the treble will be bad for us because it’ll encourage kids in Oldham to support them instead of us. I’m not sure how much of an issue that will be – if kids are swaying towards supporting the glamour team from the big city down the road, and their families aren’t doing the essential work of taking them to Boundary Park and educating them about how Manchester is full of shit, shit and more shit, we’re probably going to lose them anyway. It probably won’t help us, though. I’m more concerned about City fans being insufferable arseholes. Like, even more than usual.

Obviously, there’s been talk for years about how the FA Cup doesn’t have the prestige it used to, but it’s still my favourite tournament. All of my favourite Latics memories are from the FA Cup – super Scotty Vernon putting the ball in the City net, Gary Mac’s goal at the Gwladys Street end, Matt Smith ending Sebastian Coates’ Liverpool career, Pete Wild’s star jumps at Fulham. Obviously one of the most heart breaking memories is from the FA Cup, too, and there’s been more than enough said about THAT goal. But I’ve got a lot of affection for Old Big Ears.

Today is going to be one of the least enjoyable finals I’ve ever watched, though. Of course I’m going to watch, it’s the FA Cup Final FFS. But there’s no possible happy outcome, unless protestors run on the pitch and glue themselves to the goalposts and force the match to be abandoned. Or if Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish stage a sit-in on the centre circle in solidarity with rail workers. I’m not optimistic, though.

In any case I’m far more excited about the Scottish Cup final at 5.30pm, and the prospect of Celtic winning a domestic treble, again. It’s OK if you don’t care about Scottish football, you don’t need to tell me. I don’t care that you don’t care. There are plenty of things I don’t care about. It’s fine. Let people enjoy things. Unless they’re City or United fans, they can fuck off. Hail Hail, and KTMFF.


Written by Arlene Finnigan

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