Saturday, May 13, 2006

My FA Cup Emotional Roller Coaster


I am in a bit of an emotional state as I type this. Firstly, let me say it was an absolute privilege to have attended one of the greatest FA Cup Finals in history. There were three winners in this game. Liverpool, West Ham and football itself. I spent most of the game on the verge of tears and could quite easily howl my eyes out now. I don't know how it appeared in TV but West Ham were superb for most of the game and were only outplayed by one player: Steven Gerrard. If he hadn't been in the Liverpool team the result today would have been very different. My team did its supporters proud and I salute every single one of them. It was a team performance and I can't think of a single player who had a bad game. Despite conceding three goals you can't fault either Shaka Hislop or the defence for the goals. Carl Fletcher and Nigel Reo-Coker were outstanding in midfield and Yossi Benayoun was a constant problem for the Liverpool defenders. Even Lionel Scaloni had a great game, even if it was from his clearance that Gerrard equalised in the 90th minute. I think when Steven Gerrard scored that third goal we all knew the writing was on the wall. Somehow the crowd's mood changed. But even then we nearly won it in the last minute of extra time. We hit the post and if Marlon Harewood hadn't been crippled he would have undoubtedly scored the rebound. It's the same old story of having to take your chances when they present themselves. I cannot describe how I feel at the moment. I don't actually feel as if we lost the game. And to be honest, if we had won the penalty shoot-out I am not sure I would have felt we had won it 'properly'. That's why everyone came out of that game on top. And next season we're in Europe. Who would have thought it back in August. I remember the first 45 minutes of our opening home game against Blackburn and thinking we would be facing a relegation fight. Far from it. Top Ten finish. FA Cup finalists. Qualified for Europe. And Alan Pardew must surely be the Manager of the Year. So, no more football until the World Cup (some of you will be relieved to hear). And tonight? For someone who doesn't drink, I think I am going to get very, very drunk...

19 comments:

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Enjoy Iain. It was a great game. Found myself cheering the Hammers on!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely crackin game, one of the best ever, glad we won but West Ham deserve all the credit in the world also, West Ham havent really lost, your in europe next year and hope you win it for yourselves and for England.

Two teams, one cup, no losers.

Political Teenager said...

Easily one of the best FA cup finals of all time. No one deserved to lose the match, and to a certain extent they haven't. West Ham can try to repeat this success in next seasons UEFA cup. What a game.

Samuel Coates said...

LiiiiveeeerrpooooOoooool!

Sorry.

dizzy said...

best FA Cup Final I've seen for a very long time. Shame the shite won.

Anonymous said...

Hard luck Iain. Great game. Non-drinker + drink = bad night. Have a great night watching everyone else. Have one drink you really enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Sven definitely should be having a look at the English West Ham lads, also it was great to see England's greatest player Stevie Gerrard have a stormer, its always good for England to go into a World cup with their best player and biggest hope on fine form.

He should be Captain instead of the "Pop star".

Aidan Brack said...

That was really a lovely write-up of the match. Pardew's done an amazing job there (though I'd say Glenn Roeder deserves Manager of the Season for the turnaround he's affected at NUFC Pardew would be my runner up - he's done a great job).

As Tom remarks - no one deserved to lose. Bodes well for next season for them.

Steve said...

It's only a game Iain.

Whereas there was something far more important going on at Lord's today.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Are you sure that the last comment about Gerrard being captain wasnt from Michael Howard?

Clive Davis said...

"And next season we're in Europe."
Yes, what a thought...
So unlucky today.

Simon said...

I had the dubious pleasure, as a Man U fan to watch the game with a bunch of Liverpool mates.

It was a fantastic final and the Liverpool fans agreed that, with the exception of Gerrard, many of the other 'big names' didn't show. Where were Alonso, and Morientes when the time came to step up? Only Gerrard took the responsibility to make things happen.

Liverpool are gifted with one of the best players in the world, and he did a fantastic job yesterday. let's hope he does the same for England this summer.

Man in a shed said...

At least there's some silver at Upton Park this morning - though hopefully Woking FC will be taking it home this afternoon ! ( FA Trophy ).

Come on, you Cards!

ed thomas said...

I saw it on a pub big screen in Prague- I am a Hammers fan and by some mysterious force I found myself in the little Westham corner of the room. It was a great match and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The possession stats suggested that Liverpool were rather more competetive, not to say dominant, than the pundits have said (Hansen says that we were the better side). All I could think was that we looked like a proper West Ham side, taking people on with skill, passing the ball fluently down the flanks, flicks, interchanges, strength on the ball. Pardew has done a wonderful job with people like Harewood and Benayoun- so much in the Academy tradition. I think on the day the only thing we lacked was the confidence (and experience) to see it through. Gerard did what he can do given that extra second or so that he won't get in the World Cup!

Hughes Views said...

Did you miss the really important result yesterday? Wycombe 1-2 Cheltenham........

Anonymous said...

How does "someone who doesn't drink" square with getting plastered. You are obviously someone who does drink!

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, words fail me.

alfie said...

Stevie Gee, legend…..
Iain, I’m a scouser – and a lifelong Liverpool fan. The very first game I ever saw was in the Spring of 1963 when Liverpool played Spurs on a fantastically brilliant bright sunny day. Nine years old, walking through the dark, damp bowels of old Anfield footy stadium, I breasted the top of the stairway to be met by a dazzling green square, I was gobsmacked. I’d never seen such a verdant sward. By half time, we were 2-0 down, the boy Greavsie doing his brilliant best. The second half saw us scoring 5 goals to run out winners 5-2. I was so excited I threw up – and since that day, I’ve been hooked.

So I looked forward to Saturday’s Cup Final with relish. I thought we’d murder West Ham. I’d even prepared a posting based on the famous rant by a Norwegian radio commentator when his team defeating a mullet haired England team……

‘Sir Trevor Brooking, Billy Bragg, Ray Winston, Alf Garnett, we gave your boys a hell of a beating today’…….

But we didn’t. We scored 3 fantastic goals and made presents of 3 others. The difference was Stevie Gerrard - what a player – I wouldn’t swap him for anyone else. If he was playing for Real Madrid or Juventus he’d have been world player of the year by now. Forget Rooney’s metatarsal, Beckham’s ego and Sven’s barmy tactics, the key to victory in Germany is Gerrard – and playing him in his best position. (Taking Defoe would help as well!) The trouble is, does Sven realise it?

Come on England!

Anonymous said...

L, I, V,
E, R, P,
Double O, L

Liverpool FC!