Saturday's English FA Cup Final was probably not a great cup final, but it was an emotional one, writes Paul Wilson. After last year's "bore-fest" between Chelsea and Manchester United, it was refreshing just to see two sets of fans who actually wanted to be there as the Premier League's Portsmouth edged second-tier Cardiff City 1-0. But the final game of the English domestic season is finding it hard to compete with more financially prestigious competitions these days, especially when last year's FA Cup finalists are this year about to meet in the Champions League final.
"The ceremonial end of the English football season has been slowly strangled over the last dozen years by the top four teams usually being too tired or distracted to do it justice," writes Wilson. "Yet when two refreshingly new sides arrive it does not count as a proper Cup final." At least according to those who think there's no point watching a game unless at least one of the "big teams" is involved.
For Wilson, though, it was "a privilege to be at Wembley" this year. There was plenty of noise, two national anthems "both lustily rendered," and a game in which Cardiff refused to be over-awed. Even with just one goal, the final was great for all the "good tales" surrounding this year's players and coaches. The final could have used "a bit more drama or perhaps a great goal, but so could most FA Cup finals," but the competition still means a lot to most people, even if the Champions League has seemingly robbed it of stature.