Blue Blogger: The Trail to the Tykes
- Fri 01 Mar 2013, 10:57AM
- Posted by @NieldyMCFC / Words by @mcfcmy
Yusoff Omar from the Malaysia branch of the MCFC OSC takes us for a trip down FA Cup memory lane ahead of tomorrow's Quarter Final against Barnsley.
My earliest FA Cup experience was the 1970 final between Chelsea and Leeds. I was seventeen and had been a City supporter for barely a year. I’m not sure how far City progressed in FA Cup that year. In those dark days, English football news travelled by steamships and often got lost in transit. Anyway, it was the first FA Cup final to be telecast live in Malaysia, not once, but twice, because of the replay.
Without googling, I can only recall two players in that final, both from Chelsea: Peter Osgood and David Webb. Who can forget David Webb? He looked a lot like modern-day James Milner but only half as talented. Somehow he scored the winning goal. It was a nasty final, with plenty of break-neck running, hard kicking and other vicious stuff. David Silva wouldn’t have survived ten minutes of this final.
To be fair, black-and-white TV had the habit of exaggerating things out of proportion. Still I could count only four short passes and one clean tackle made throughout the game. Not a pretty sight, but an exhilarating experience all the same given that we had only one live telecast a year. The next day, half of my school proudly crawled out of the woodwork and identified themselves as lifetime supporters of either Chelsea or Leeds football clubs. Lifetime, of course, lasted until the next live telecast. For me it’s always Manchester City, and it came with a heavy price: I’d never get to watch my favourite team live.
Not until 11 years later, in 1981, when City played in the 100th FA Cup final against Spurs. City had reached a couple of League Cup finals before that, but our TV people decided against live League Cup telecast as not to confuse the general public with a mid-season cup final. Finally I got to watch City live and in colour, not once, but twice, again because of the replay.
Running up to the match, I was breathless with excitement and anticipation. No big names in City line-up, except, maybe, Joe Corrigan, who’s, well, big. The game itself was a visual feast, unlike the Chelsea-Leeds wrestlemania, with plenty of skills on offer. I remember leaping out of my couch when young Steve MacKenzie’s thunderbolt crashed the net. No, I’m not going to talk about Ricky Villa’s mazy runs and freakish goal. City lost, and I tried my best to calm down: “City will win FA Cup next year”.
Next year turned out to be 2011. Thirty years to the day. But before that, English football (the old First Division) was making massive inroads into this country. Even league games were shown live, finally ending the much dreaded Star Soccer scam of weekly “delayed” telecast featuring last four seasons’ matches. With the country now boasting a richer population and a pay TV available, all Premier League games are shown live. I mean all except West Ham v Wigan.
Even our Prime Minister openly proclaimed that he’s a hard-core United (not Sheffield Utd) fan and called for all Malaysians (me included) to emulate United’s teamwork and ethic. There’s a lot of media coverage of him and hordes of United instants watching the live United-City Old Trafford derby at his official residence on that fateful day in October 2011. I’m still waiting for his comment on the result.
Back to the final against Stoke. Well, I thought it’s a bit of an anticlimax after that epic semi-final against United. Well short of the 1981 spectacular, all I could see was worried Stoke players at the sight of Yaya Toure. Little did I realise that that win foreshadowed what’s to come - Aguero’s last-gasp flick.