Am I wearing rose-tinted specs of nostalgia or can anyone else remember when watching the FA Cup Final brought families and communities together round the telly? You’d get up on FA Cup Final day and there’d be women in the streets with football ribbons in their hair, flags flying from pubs and shops selling football themed treats. The telly would start at football o’clock with footage of fans boarding coaches, wearing their footy hats and shaking their rattlers. There’d be a Match of the Day FA Cup special, there’d be Grandstand on telly all day. There’d be football themed lunatic fun on every channel (was there an FA Cup It’s a Knockout?) and the day would be the biggest football event ever.
1973 is the one I remember best. I was 9 years old when Sunderland beat Leeds 1-0 and when our goal went in, my dad almost fell off his chair with delight and we could hear all the neighbours in our cul-de-sac roaring at their TV.