THE FA Cup is great, isn’t it? Dead romantic. “The Romance of the Cup” is accepted as standard and is lashed about all over the place. By journalists, by commentators and by the boring arse in everyone’s work who doesn’t really follow footie but heard Jeremy Vine say it on Radio Two.
It’s the world’s best cup competition, apparently, where teams called Bin Bag United and something mad like Flannelsbury Town get a chance to be giantkillers for a day.
Post men, bin men, brickies and mechanics (you can’t play semi-pro if you aren’t one of these by the way, don’t ask me why — I don’t make the rules) get to pit their wits against some of the best players in the world.
For the general public and everyone involved with shite footie teams or no-mark towns — the type you see plastered all over England flags ‘on tour’ — it would be romantic if your team is dreadful and you get to go to Anfield or Old Trafford. But for us, or Manchester United, it is anything but.
Get drawn against a team of dogs away and at the time of the draw you are happy: “Piece of piss, that…could have been far worse, that.”
Then, as the game looms, that feeling morphs into a nervous horrible wait. You end up praying the Reds don’t get embarrassed and do enough to get through.
Get drawn at home against 95 per cent of the teams in the hat and it’s a pain in the arse as well. Auto-cup scheme, mad seating arrangements and watching the Reds while thinking they should be doing better no matter what the score is.
There is no romance in any of it for us — there is only failure or boring victory and anyone who tells you any different needs jibbing.
I’d go so far as to say I’d quite like to have a deal whereby if we aren’t going to win it, we get knocked out in the third round every year. Can we have that?
Friday night’s match is a case in point.
Ask Kloppo as to what his romance game is and I’m fairly sure he’d rather be having a three-courser in Formby with Mrs Klopp and a bit of a lovely smooch as opposed to driving for something like 1,600 miles on a coach to the middle of France with a gang of kids pissing about on Snapchat and playing Rudimental through their phones.
The kids are bad enough, but also interrupting his fantasies about Mrs Klopp (who he hasn’t seen since Germany as we have played 87 matches since he joined) are the unerring stares from the weirdos sat to the side of him (the silent Belgian and the Bog) and the lycra-wearing Jose Enrique who has been trying to wrestle the driver since Keele services.
Talking of the Bog, I don’t know what the Hungarians do to ginger people but judging by the look on his face throughout the game and those deep empty eyes, horrific acts must be happening over there.
My guess is that they are sent to the woods by men dressed as Dickensian rent collectors and made to dodge cannonballs disguised as footies fired at them from the darkness and are only let out when they can show that they haven’t come close to a cannon footie for a year.
The training has obviously stayed with him. Well in the Hungarian woodsmen, aye?
That is the only possible explanation for the Exeter manager’s rig out. He must have heard about the Bog’s traumas and spent the day before the game at the Devon outlet village Ted Baker basing his clobber on the said Dickensians to try to garner some form of advantage.
Nothing else could explain that hat, mates.
The game itself was a bit of a waste of time all told. The young Reds might all be decent players but I’m not sure many of them will still be playing for us in three or four years.
We had a lad with two first names playing centre mid. I spent the game being quietly impressed with him but that was because I thought he was 17. He’s 22 for Christ’s sake and I have never heard his name spoken before.
Loads of other little lads ran round and tried their best without really impressing and the only first teamer on show, the silent Belgian, managed to flit about upfront and look like a massive outside bet in the big game of guess who cost 32 million nicker.
Tiago Ilori, faster than Bolty apparently, who no-one has ever seen before, took up some good defensive positions. Given the fact he was playing next to the wrestling Geordie Shore-head, it can probably be classed as one of the great centre-half performances.
The bit where he got caught about as far under the ball as is possible without falling over was a worry, mind.
He wasn’t as good as the Twitter experts would tell you but he doesn’t look as bad as you would expect seeing as he couldn’t get a game for Villa this season.
Maybe he might be an alright player who has got loads of really good attributes and who we bought hoping he would develop physically a bit more and he is just going to be OK. You’d take that and maybe we all should.
The oddity of this performance, given that the players probably didn’t know half of their team mates, was that the shape of the team appeared (on the telly) to be quite good.
I’m not sure who is responsible for this given the limited time the manager had with some of the players but as a unit they looked really well drilled.
Someone should be congratulated for this, so I’m going to congratulate Kloppo.
It’s interesting that he wants to keep the closest lads to the first team at the club rather than sending them on loan. Maybe he fancies himself to improve them more by interacting with them on a daily basis rather than sending them out to somewhere where they love a good header, a pie and an early dart and where we have no control over what they are being taught.
There is a balance here that must be sought given the weakness of the Under-21 league but I’d back Kloppo to know what he is doing more than me or you so, you know, crack on, Kloppo.
It was also interesting that a completely different team could also suffer from the same limitations we have been experiencing when we have to try to break down a defensive opposition.
Loads of the ball, a good shape, but a lack of individual threat led to frustration and a lack of ideas.
Combine this with a few horrific defensive mistakes and it’s life imitating art (or life, or something).
Inject some absolute star quality into this and we probably win the game easily. Someone who does something out of nothing. The best teams have these types of attacking players. Our only one is injured and might well be for the rest of his life. Let’s get some more, eh?
That said, Sheyi Ojo (above) looked alright.
I’ve never seen him before but he seems like he has got something about him. Something in how he holds himself and his arrogance.
He backs himself and this came across to the extent that he was my pick in the mystery 32 million nicker game.
Is right, lad, come off the bench and bang the winner against the Mancs and we will all have a lovely disco.
I can’t really remember how the game ended except that it ended and we have now got to play again. No-one can really be arsed with that.
The only thing to look forward to now is their manager turning up at the ground dressed as a Death Eater with the national press in tow, boring the shite out of everyone about giant-killing and romantic football.
There is no romance in the cup for us — just embarrassing death, or eventual glory. We should choose glory every time. Up the Reds.
The Beeb love ramming down everyone’s throat about the romance of the cup…..
And then they go and have the draw for the 4th round during The One Show….
The fecking “Romance of the Cup”, if I hear it one more time my foot is going through the telly.
As for the silent Belgian, thought it was strange to give him the captain’s armband, he hasn’t shown any leadership qualities, now there have been precious few bar Hendo who have this season.
Great bit of writing, well done.
Shearer and Wright are bang into cup romance. They were buzzing their tits off at 2-1 at half time so much I thought they were going to spontaneously combust live on air.
Benteke terrifies me. On a pitch with kids, no marks and Enrique and he couldn’t find one touch to make him stand out. Just hid/made weird runs placing himself behind his man.
BBC bang on about the romance of the Cup, then select an all Premier League tie and not the only non-league team left in the competition. Hypocrites.
At least we still have the traditional late penalty gift for Scumcheaters Utd to ease them through.
Dont agree largely with this but i do get the point that you are making especially regarding the auto cup scheme and logistical changes. Personally i just enjoy watching Liverpool play football. Any game of football. you would hope that fans who dont get to see live football may get a chance also but i know that will not be as wide ranging as possible.
Ultimately you write about all those things here that happened on friday. I am a fan of Liverpool trying to win every game and competition despite the difficulties. I realise its unrealistic though and I fully agreed with the team that was put out. due to injuries etc etc there was no other choice. The players had played too many games…if not physically all of them but defintely mentally. I loved watching the young lads play. Its funny that people say there is no romance in any of it yet still reference spurs away in the league cup when the kids were excellent. I felt quite proud of lads trying to grasp an opportunity without all impressing. some did really well for 10-15 minutes. Some did better for longer. some started poorly and then finished well. some were steady from the start. They are young players so its expected. I have seen alot about one player being 22. I understand the point but there is no age limit on whether a player has a chance. In my observations its to do with opportunitiy. Pep G (cant spell it!) found Pedro in the ressies at Barca. Gave him an opportunity. If you know about Muller at Bayern without an U16 coach batting for him he would now be in the 3rd division. LvG then gave him a further opportunity. Its naive to suggest that age is the key indicator. Klopp knew the score. He completely bypassed the question of ‘have you seen future talent’. His reply? its ‘one game’ because thats all it is but someone would have stood out for him in the game. Thats opportunity coming together and now he may give them another opportunity. Its good for the club even if they do not have long term careers. one final thing on this. I cant agree that no one impressed. did they impress for 90 mintues? probably not. however, at different points they all had moments. I agree on the lad who came on sub but you know its easier to come on sub than start. Hes earnt that now though. opportunity.
Despite mass hysteria (some (only a little) here in this article too but thats sound as its a fans site for discussion) i dident feel the older players necessarily let us down. They were pretty average and arguably crap especially bogdan but I still saw Benteke and enrique trying and having a go. Enrique did okay, made a couple of mistakes (lets see how we would get on if not played in a year) and then steadied whilst always looking worrying). Benteke, tried, linked up okay. played okay overall but is fundamentally flawed by his lack of movement, especially from wide areas. If you did not know that at 7pm that night then what games have you (the wider’you’ that is) been watching. Was he a horror though? A disgrace to the shirt? No, refusing to turn up on time for training and then not playing is a reserve game is truly awful but Stan Collemore is still treated fairly well by reds fans. and why not? he seems okay on the whole stan, backs a number of grassroots and professional causes in football but when i think people who deserve the real wrath of performance and attitude to liverpool i remember the top of the scale. Being shit is not the same as being a shit and then shitting on people.
Overall ,the comparisions with the first team only really have one common denominator and thats a lack of real quality especially in forward areas. This generation of footballers young and old are the first generation to not have Fowler, Owen, Gerrard, sureuz, Torres. They have got Sturridge. Thats it. Lets hope he stays fit becuase he is a class finisher. Transforms everything into to having a better chance…not necessarily winning but having a better chance.
As i say I dont largely agree but i have enjoyed writing a reply which I could not do if you had not had written it. all the best.
Agree with all of this. I for one loved watching the kids play, and loved the fact that they twice came from behind, and more specifically pulled themselves up again having been badly let down by the entire transfer committee.
Jose Enrique “Geordie shore head” haha good shout that.
On all the loan recalls, can see some loanees going to Huddersfield in the future Klopps best man is the manager up there and supposedly follows the same methods.
And that Exeter manager wouldnt look out of place on an episode of minder in that rig out.