Saturday 18 May 2019

Watford to stage a marvel endgame?

Sitting next to the physical colossus, Chris Hemsworth, in a recent episode of the Graham Norton Show, Paul Rudd, who plays Ant Man alongside Hemsworth's Thor in the Marvel Avengers finale Endgame, affected a resigned air when discussing the process of muscle development when appearing in the same film as the the Son of Odin.

"What is the point?"  he asked.

The players of Liverpool Football Club must be contemplating the same at the moment. 97 points, one defeat, and it was still not enough to take Manchester City's Premier League title from them. Rudd tried to reason that he and Hemsworth were "essentially made from the same materials" but while Liverpool - the Captain America of the story, doing the righteous thing and selling to buy to mount a title challenge (Coutinho out, Alisson and Van Dijk in - ), for City, the Thannos hand of unrivalled wealth can be called upon with the click of Guardiola's fingers (within the permitted transfer windows).

So what chance do Watford stand against City in today's Cup Final? Watford have never won a 'major' trophy in their history, and their record signing is £18,500,000. Since City were taken over by the Abu Dhabi ruling state in 2008, they have won the Premier League four times, the League Cup four times and an FA Cup (though never the Champions League). They would find it impossible to spend as little as £18,500,000 of their oil riches. £60,000,000 is their record signing, for Rihad Mahrez, a squad player.

City's only resemblance to a Marvel Avenger is to Captain America in Winter Soldier, prior to his experimental transformation from plucky weakling to an indestructable fighting machine. Only, Captain America was sent out to fight the likes of City's dark forces. With the jailing of raped and beaten women and the disappearance of journalists seeking truth and justice, Abu Dhabi's ruling state seem to be embarking on some kind of warped, Thannos-like cleansing mission of their own.  Perhaps their next step is to eliminate the Liverpools and the Tottenhams who dare to stand in their way of European glory - because they can't quite get that one right, can they?

The Magic of the FA Cup is about as credible now as Jeremy Kyle's remorse, and it's only BBC who get those keywords in, as it's the only thing they have left. I'm writing this at 3pm when the game should be kicking off, following the three hour build up of old that you could base your day around, a spring in your step as you wake to the fantastic reality. I watched the FA Cup Rewind programme the BBC do very well yesterday, showing the best bits of the 1987 Coventry City-Tottenham Hotspur Final build up and then the highlights. The contrast to today is sad, but at least we can cherish the memories.

When the teams lined up in the tunnel in 87, John Motson talked about the "blistering noise" about to happen and, as the teams emerged to the waved flags and tribal songs and chants of the two sets of supporters, even Motson fell silent, giving way to the occasion, respecting the Magic of The FA Cup, which didn't need to be fed down our throats back then because it existed. 

This evening that noise will be censored, unheard over the blaring X Factor type music amid the contrived pyrotechnics so that we can remind ourselves that the players are the Gods and that we are just mere subserviant peasants in club colours, to be seen not heard, accepting the monstrous tickets prices and weedy allocations because we know our place. Even Abide With Me and God Save The Queen has been removed as a fan soundtrack, with some pop singer or wannabee roped in to drown the crowd out. Any other pre-match sounds will be taken care of by the Wembley stadium announcer, a man pumped up full of e numbers believing the supporters he booms over have an even less rang of intelligence. 

Only if Watford somehow win today, will I accept another utterance of the Magic of The FA Cup. 



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