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FA Cup : Arsenal vs Villa

29th May 2015


With any sporting team they'll be fans and of those they'll fall somewhere between: the obsessive and the armchair fan. The obsessive fan will have had something akin to a spiritual experience during their first game and since then attended all games at home and away when age (and driving licences) allows, taking in stats, results, names while building a delicate structure of hope each season only to be dashed and trashed at some point along the way or crowned for reaching one of the winning pinnacles either here or abroad.

The armchair fan by comparison is a little more stationary but will make up for it by a large amount of arm waving along with standing up repeatedly to give additional force to their retributions (directed at the TV) or an occasion - it is hoped - to celebrate a goal.

So it's with this weekend's FA Cup we see both sets of fans from each side: Aston Villa and Arsenal, take their respective seats for a competition that still holds currency between fans up and down the land - even if the competition itself is not the most lucrative - as it offers the chance, and romance, for any team, whether your league or semi-professional to have a go.

Both teams have their celebrity fans. Arsenal being in North London and with Highgate, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Hampstead a corner throw away ensures there's a few well known faces in the crowd that may include the likes of (according to bleacherreport.com): Piers Morgan, Dido; rock royalty: Roger Daltrey, Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Mick Jagger; Fidel Castro (yes, apparently) and original royal, Prince Harry.

On the Villa side they can count on punk violinist Nigel Kennedy, the prime minister Dave Cameron; Hollywood legend Tom Hanks (yes, apparently), Martin Shaw; ex DG of the CBI Lord Digby Jones; writer Lee Child; more rock royalty in one Ozzy Osbourne (along with most of Sabbath), Simon Le Bon; poet Benjamin Zephaniah and another original royal in Prince William in the Claret & Blue corner.

They also can count on our very own Gold Brothers: MD Nick and Director Tim, who are both season ticket holders for Arsenal and Account Manager Adam Cuthy is our in-office (and self-confessed armchair) Villa fan. This ensures, along with Royals: William and Harry - that post match is going to be interesting to see what levels of humility exist under the hubris of pre-match discussion.

Whatever happens, it's an event embedded in the very fabric of UK life which Grayson Perry would have no issue addressing in one of his sociological tapestries. It's about Saturday afternoons, the changeable weather, the underdog narrative being rolled out again, the National Grid preparing for the half time run for a cuppa and two teams battling it out in the oldest association football competition in the world.

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